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Kansas City wants to hear from the community about building a new city jail

A man wearing glasses talks into a microphone in a radio studio.
Claudia Brancart
Councilman Crispin Rea hopes that his committee will be able to bring a recommendation to the full city council on how to approach the new city jail by January.

Kansas City Council member Crispin Rea is the chair of a committee looking for community input on how to move forward with a new city jail. Engagement sessions will be held in the coming weeks so that residents can share their thoughts.

Kansas City is working towards building its own jail after it was announced in September that it could not reach an agreementwith Jackson County to share facilities.

Now, a committee of city leaders led by 4th District-At-Large Council member Crispin Rea working on recommendations on how best to move forward with the Kansas City Jail. They aim to report to the full city council by January.

A series of community engagement sessions will be held in each of the city's six districts so Kansas Citians can voice their opinions on the size and location of the jail, along with the means of funding and the ratio of mental health to detention beds.

"Our task is going to be to synthesize the information we have that's very technical information — as you could imagine, a conversation about a jail can be very technical from design to regulations surrounding where it can be located, how you're going to fund it," Rea told KCUR's Up To Date. "To synthesize that down into information that folks can receive, digest and then give relevant and valuable input back."

"We want to make sure folks have the information that we have in a way that is meaningful and that they can respond to... so that we get the information from them that we need to make a decision."

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As Up To Date’s senior producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
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