Four different county jails in our area, four different fires set inside the cell. The sheriff in Douglas County is asking for felony assault charges against three female inmates, accused of setting a fire inside the jail on July 15. But even with the severity of that, he fears until the punishment is longer, it’s a problem that will just keep happening.

“What deterrent is there to make the inmates be compliant with the rules?” said Sheriff Chris Degase. “Because if they already got a seven year sentence, this is not going to go on top of that– it’s going to run concurrent with it.”

It’s a stunt that could kill everyone inside– yet no *additional time for the crime. Sheriffs across Southwest Missouri say a judge, and more importantly the prison system, needs to make an example of fire-starters.

Three of the 7 women locked up in Ava are awaiting word from the court on what, if any, additional punishment will come.

“They placed every single person in danger here… and we request first degree assault charges. It could have killed everybody here,” Degase said.

This is just one fire on a growing list. Inmates, sheriffs say, are smuggling lighters into the cell inside their bodies.

By Sara Forhetz, KY3 News