Jackson County Corrections | KCUR

Jackson County Corrections

The Jackson County Detention Center has been a contentious topic in city and county politics, with a lot of the public debate focused on questions of funding and space. But conditions for inmates, most of whom are awaiting trial, continue to be concerning for those who know the facility.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Chants of "we need support" broke out on the steps of the Jackson County courthouse Wednesday as dozens of attorneys rallied against what they consider sexist security protocol at the county jail. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Jackson County property owners should brace for a property tax hike when they get their December bill.

County legislators Wednesday voted 9-0 to roll back a property tax cut from several years ago.

The "intent of the Legislature" resolution had been kicked down the road twice in the past month as lawmakers and Jackson County Executive Frank White decided how to spend the additional $19 million a year.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Fewer than 20 people showed up to the first of two public meetings inviting community input on the embattled Jackson County jail, which has seen alleged sexual assault, inmate deaths, and bribery schemes.

Jann Coulson — a prison ministry volunteer who works with inmates at the jail — said that's because the public is frustrated to see elected officials trying to fix the jail "stomping over each other's feet."

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m. May 12, 2018, with a felony charge against Jackson County corrections officer.

A grand jury tasked with reviewing the Jackson County Detention Center says the jail's management and the county's administration is responsible for the "systemic failure to address its well-documented problems."

The findings were released Friday in a highly critical, 72-page report detailing chronic issues at the jail of overcrowding, understaffing and poor management of funds. It also recommends measures to better track progress of changes.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A former guard at the Jackson County jail has pleaded guilty to corruption charges for taking a bribe to smuggle cigarettes, cell phones and phone chargers into the downtown jail.

Twenty-six year old Andre Lamonte Dickerson pleaded guilty to two of the four counts against him.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

It's already a challenge to run the Jackson County Jail. It's overcrowded and understaffed. Everything from the elevators to the plumbing needs fixing.

Now, add to that, the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) is $1.7 million in arrears for housing state prisoners in the downtown jail, the most owed to any county in the state.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How a redrawn border influences modern Mexican-American identity

When the U.S.-Mexico border moved at the end of the Mexican-American War, more than 100,000 Mexicans suddenly found themselves living on U.S. territory. Today, we considered how this history, more than 100 years in the making, impacts modern race relations.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Jackson County jail is a mess. It’s overcrowded, understaffed and from elevators to toilets, there's a lot that’s broken.

Everyone agrees with that. But how to fix it is complicated and fraught with politics.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 8:10 pm Tuesday with a statement from County Executive Frank White. 

A judge will decide who controls Jackson County's anti-drug program known as COMBAT after county legislator's filed a lawsuit.

For weeks, the Jackson County Legislature has been in a pitched fight with County Executive Frank White over who calls the shots for the $19 million program — White or Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Jackson County Jail Task Force appointed by County Executive Frank White will spend a lot of time looking at alternatives to locking up people.

The panel's first meeting Wednesday had a Jail 101 component. Members heard about how many inmates are in the jail because they can't afford bail, how many have mental illnesses and how jail staff need to keep some inmates away from others.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Several Jackson County legislators called for new leadership at the troubled downtown jail on Tuesday. It only took until Friday to get their wish.

Jackson County Corrections Director Joe Piccinini resigned, County Executive Frank White said at a news conference Friday. And pressure from the county legislature was not a factor, White said. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Jackson County Legislature had a full agenda Tuesday morning but, once again, problems at the downtown jail dominated the session. After an hour of grilling County Executive Frank White, legislators decided to punt on other work before them.

The focus of several legislators was on the task force recently named by White. The Legislature once again said another task force is a waste of time. The time to act, a majority said, is now.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A guard at the Jackson County jail is in critical condition after he was allegedly attacked while on duty, according to court documents.

The unidentified guard was allegedly attacked by 20-year-old Johnny R. Dunlap. Dunlap was charged with first degree assault and armed criminal action and faces up to life in prison if convicted, according to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Amidst mounting tensions over ongoing issues at the Jackson County Detention Center, County Executive Frank White, Jr. announced a new Jail Task Force to determine what steps to take to fix these issues, which include overcrowding and understaffing. 

Jackson County Prosecutor's Office

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and  Sheriff Mike Sharp called a news conference Wednesday to say four inmates in the county jail had been charged with assaulting a corrections officer.

But the news conference turned into the two top law enforcement officials in Jackson County expressing their ongoing frustration with a string of problems at the jail. “Everything is a concern at this point. The whole thing is a concern,” says Baker. “We’re fed up with each of our weeks here at the county being filled with the jail as a problem.”

Pixabay - CC

Tensions over the Jackson County jail continue to mount. Attorneys for former inmates filed a class-action lawsuit last week that would force authorities to address the detention center's dangerous, dirty conditions. Today, we speak with two Jackson County legislators about what they'd do to improve the facility. Then, we kick off a week full of conversation with presenters from this year's TEDxKC.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A 35-year-old man died overnight Thursday after being restrained to a chair at the Jackson County Detention Center.

The man was brought in on a parole violation around 11 p.m. According to Jackson County spokeswoman Marshanna Hester, he was evaluated by a nurse at intake.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Updated 12:05 p.m. Monday

Two corrections officers at the Jackson County Detention Center are among four people charged with involvement in smuggling contraband to inmates.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Tom Larson unsealed federal charges Monday, in coordination with a large, early morning search for contraband in the jail. 

Pixabay — Creative Commons

Prisoners from Jackson County have been removed from the Johnson County Jail in Missouri following an outbreak of violence in the facility on Thursday evening.

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

A pregnant woman who was shackled, chained and transported from the Jackson County jail to a facility 192 miles away while bleeding, vomiting and experiencing contractions has settled her lawsuit against the county.

Jackson County has agreed to pay Megon Riedel $50,000 in damages and to implement policies and procedures addressing its use of restraints and transportation for pregnant inmates and pretrial detainees, said ACLU attorney Gillian R. Wilcox, who represented Riedel.

Courtesy photo / Mike Sanders

Outgoing Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders says after Dec. 31, when he formally resigns from his post, he will be out of politics. At least for now. 

When asked Tuesday by KCUR's Steve Kraske on Up To Date whether he would consider ever running for political office again, Sanders closed the door, in a sense, but didn't bang it shut. 

"Not completely, but I don't want to say that door is open any time soon," he said. "I'm not dying, I'm not moving. I'll be around. I would say: in a decade, who knows?" 

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders Will Resign

Dec 22, 2015
Jackson County government

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders disclosed to The Kansas City Star in an interview Monday that he will resign Dec. 31 after nine years as the top elected official of the county. 

Sanders told the newspaper that he made the decision because he wants to spend more time with his family and has no plans to run for other public office at this time.  Rather, the article says, he would like to resume his private law practice. 

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

This story was updated at 3:20 p.m. to include comments from Megon Riedel.   

A pregnant woman who was allegedly shackled, chained and transported from the Jackson County jail to a facility 192 miles away while bleeding, vomiting and experiencing contractions has sued the county and three of its guards.

Frank Morris / KCUR

A taskforce aimed at addressing an alleged pattern of abuse by guards at the Jackson County Detention Center heard accusations of violence from a former inmate Thursday.

Terry Coleman is part of an ongoing FBI investigation at the jail that came to light in August, when the county acknowledged allegations of several beatings at the facility.

On Thursday, the taskforce held a public forum, where Coleman explained how he'd been transferred to the detention center on a snowy day in February 2013 on a drug possession charge.  

Corbis / CC

A task force scrutinizing the Jackson County Detention Center has found some serious HR problems. Overtime and turnover at the jail are on track to cost the county more than $5 million this year, and alleged abuse of inmates by guards at the jail sparked an FBI investigation.

The county task force also looked into a wider range of issues affecting the environment for inmates and staff at the facility. According to the task force, one problem is that corrections officers seem almost as anxious to get out of jail as the inmates do — guards only make about $25,000 a year.

Frank Morris / KCUR

The FBI is investigating repeated use of excessive force by guards at the county jail.  

The problem came to light last month, when a nurse told the county’s acting corrections director, Joe Piccinini, about an inmate hospitalized with serious injuries.

Piccinini says the county looked into the issue and discovered that a group of four corrections officers may have used excessive force on inmates on at least three other occasions between May and July of this year.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Jackson County officials thanked each other Thursday for the successful completion of a project to house Kansas City Police Department detainees on the ground floor of the county detention center.

County Executive Mike Sanders estimates the city will save up to $1 million annually using the Jackson County Detention Center rather than police headquarters to house detainees. The old detention center was in need of costly renovations to comply with American with Disabilities Act accessibility standards.

Jail Combo Termed Glitch-Free

Sep 1, 2010

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City and Jackson County's regional jail has been in operation for a year now and the county executive told a City Council committee today it appears it will save the city a million dollars a year.