Kansas City Considers Regional Jail: Bad News for Criminals, Good News for Taxpayers
There’s an interesting article in the Star today about the proposal for a shared, regionally built jail for the Kansas City area. I think this is a great idea and an opportunity for shared investment. Regional jails have worked very well in Saint Louis County and city. The county jail in St. Louis, which was initially paid for by the county via a bond issue but is used by all the municipalities, has worked out great. In St. Louis city, there are two jails. The new city jail is just for the city itself, although I think the feds pay to house some prisoners there on a temporary basis. But the lower-security city workhouse up on Hall Street houses low-risk prisoners who can’t pay their fines or restitutions from others counties, too, and that works out well for the city’s finances.
Jails are one of the few areas where I would generally be against privatization although some services within jails should certainly be outsourced and privatized, such as the pharmacy. Consolidation is the key to efficient use of tax dollars for jails, and it’s great that the Kansas City area may be moving in that direction. Just as St. Louis County put its jail right next to its other government buildings, I think Kansas City should build a 20-story art deco jail right next to City Hall and the courthouse. Now, that would be sweet.