- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A special committee appointed to study operations at the Jackson County Detention Center has released its final report with several suggestions for improvement.

The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1NORIDl ) reports the Department of Corrections Task Force released its report on Monday. The report listed several recommendations, but task force members said the most important is for Jackson County to take steps to immediately to have the jail in downtown Kansas City become accredited by the American Correctional Association.

According to Alvin Brooks, a former city councilman who led the task force, the jail’s accreditation was allowed to lapse nearly 20 years ago and is the underlying cause of many of the facility’s current challenges.

Brooks said “This is the single most important change to enable JCDC to address most of the issues heard by this task force.”

Other recommendations from the task force include higher pay and more training for jail guards, and improving the internal health care system for prisoners. The committee also suggested lobbying state and federal officials for more funds and taking steps to “upgrade and repair” the detention center complex, most of which is more than 30 years old.

According to the report, the jail’s more than 200 corrections officers are the lowest paid jail guards in the metro area, with wages starting at $11.45 an hour. The task force indicated that the jail’s high turnover rate of guards may be reduced by implementing a system for career advancement and merit raises.

The Department of Corrections Task Force was formed in late August by County Executive Mike Sanders, who announced the committee’s formation the same day he revealed that the FBI was investigating the alleged use of excessive force by jail guards against prisoners at the detention center.

The task force’s job was not to investigate those cases, but to look into how the jail operates.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com



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