- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - The Springfield Police Department will soon begin sending some of the city’s inmates to jails in two other counties.

The city council voted unanimously last month to approve the plan to use up to $500,000 in surplus funds to house inmates at jails in Miller and Taney counties, the Springfield News-Leader reported (https://sgfnow.co/22wOTMl ).

The move came nearly a year after Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott essentially closed the county jail to offenders arrested on municipal charges. Arnott says the county jail, which Springfield police had been using since the early 2000s, no longer has enough room to hold suspects arrested on the least serious charges.

Miller County officials have agreed to travel between Tuscumbia and Springfield to pick up inmates once or twice a day. But Springfield police will be responsible for transporting inmates to the Taney County Jail in Forsyth.

Under the agreement, law enforcement isn’t required to bring Springfield’s inmates back to town when they’re released, which has some critics concerned that people will be left stranded.

At a meeting Tuesday, Springfield councilman Craig Fishel questioned whether the city should do something about the transportation issue, while others disagreed.

Police Chief Paul Williams said he wouldn’t support “establishing some new precedent where we’re going to operate a taxi service for people who are released from custody.”

He said it’s not a common practice to provide transportation for someone who’s release from jail.

Councilman Craig Hosmer said he doesn’t oppose not providing transportation to inmates upon release.

“This isn’t something we’ve created. This is something Greene County’s created and we’re trying to make the best of a bad situation,” he said.

Transports to the other county jails could begin as soon as next week.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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