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Jackson County Wants Out of Jail Matrix

By Maria Carter


Kansas City, MO – Jackson County has taken action to remove the county's jail from a court order limiting inmate population. KCUR's Maria Carter reports.

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The Jackson County Detention Center has operated under something known as the jail matrix since 1994. The guidelines set out by a federal court seek to prevent overcrowding in the county's jails. When the jail's population hit 800, the jail matrix goes into effect, letting out low-risk inmates first. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders says the federal court order artificially caps the number of inmates the jail can hold.

Mike Sanders: We'd like to base the population numbers on how many beds we have available. How large the inmate population would be based upon infrastructure, based upon a federal court order that doesn't necessarily consider those factors.

Sanders says the jail could house as many 900 inmates with more staffing. It's unclear where extra money would be found. Jackson County is facing more than a 6 million dollar shortfall going into this year. Sanders will present his budget to the county legislature early next week.

Maria Carter, KCUR News.

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