- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Department of Corrections is converting a Kansas City prison release center into a new type of facility.

The newly named Kansas City Re-Entry Center takes the place of the Kansas City Community Release Center, which for years released several hundred parolees daily into downtown Kansas City.

Beginning this month, the building in the city’s West Bottoms will become a minimum-security prison, housing inmates nearing parole, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1UnPo7A ) reported.

The Downtown Council, which worked with the Corrections Department on the prison transition, had complained for years that too many high risk ex-offenders on parole supervision were streaming into downtown from the release center.

“It’s better from the standpoint that we will have 400 people incarcerated as opposed to 400 people released into our community every morning,” said Downtown Council Vice President Sean O’Byrne.

Under the new program, inmates are expected to stay there about six to nine months, until they find housing and jobs. Missouri Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi said they won’t leave the facility until “they are ready to leave permanently.”

The facility has a capacity of about 400 offenders, but Lombardi said that it will start with a small population and ramp up slowly. He said the inmates will have to demonstrate appropriate and good behavior to qualify for placement there.

Lombardi said the prison will have its own medical service. O’Byrne said the Downtown Council will help assure that each inmate has a home plan when he leaves.

“These folks will have a better opportunity for success based upon what we’re putting together,” he said. “This an opportunity for us to really say Missouri got it right.”

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


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