Jail Report Calls for Higher Pay, More Training & New Jail?

A new report says Jackson County Jail Corrections officers suffer from high turnover, and low starting wages.

The report, issued Monday also calls for the County to look into the possibility of replacing the 31-year old high-rise jail in downtown Kansas City.

The report says the starting wage for some officers of $11.45 an hour is not enough to lure people into a stressful job with long hours.

Commission Co-Chairman Al brooks says the County’s pay scale is not competitive.

“And the County couldn’t keep up with what the other industries were doing. In fact the County was the lowest in the region,” he said.

The report also suggests the County Department of Corrections improve its training and seek accreditation.
Brooks said that could also improve practices and standards at the jail.

The report was commissioned after incidents earlier this year of guards being accused of excessive force.

One of the key finding calls upon Jackson County to consider the feasibility of a new jail.

Brooks says the current facility, first built in the mid-1980’s and often at, or near its 720-inmate capacity; is outdated.

“You don’t build jails anymore 6-8-10 stories anymore. So it’s campus style. So it’s both for the employees and the detainee,” Brooks said.

Jackson County officials will starting building their 2016 budget next week. It’s expected they’ll plan to raise the wages for jail guards.

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