Hoping to ease overcrowding, Jackson County breaks ground on new $260M jail

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:41 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - Crews are breaking ground Wednesday on what is slated to be a new 1,200-bed Jackson County Detention Center, coming at a cost of around $260 million.

The county has cited numerous reasons for the necessity of a new jail facility, including overcrowding. Current jail facilities in downtown Kansas City are functioning over capacity, housing far more detainees than the building was designed to accommodate.

A forecast model shows the jail will need to increase capacity by 16.5 percent by 2035. The new facility is planned to have 1,200 beds, compared to the 884 beds at the current jail.

Another reason is design. The current facility’s layout of its housing units and various multi-purpose rooms creates some blind spots, so staff don’t always have direct lines of visibility on detainees.

The current jail is also dealing with sub-par conditions. A recent report from the county defined the detention center’s condition as “poor” and said major systems like HVAC, electrical and plumbing require either substantial renovation, or even replacement. Sanitation has also been an issue, often failing to meet minimally-acceptable standards, the report said.

The county hopes to move detainees from the current facility on Cherry Street in Kansas City to the new one on U.S. 40 Highway east of the Blue River by the fall of 2024.

The groundbreaking is set for Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. We’ll keep you updated as the project continues.

View the full timeline of the project here.