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Struggle continues for Bourbon County jail - KOAM TV 7

Struggle continues for Bourbon County jail

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FORT SCOTT, KANSAS -

Built in 1977, the current Bourbon County jail does not meet many state and federal codes.

"Since then the jail designs and the philosophy of housing inmates has changed tremendously, this jail is costing taxpayers to keep running and updated," Sheriff Bill Martin said.

The facility was set to be built on a plot of land outside town,1400 feet from a private school. Parents and school officials rallied and county commissioners ceased construction.

"Now we are back to square one again, we are out looking for property," Martin said.

The 22,000 square-foot facility will have to be built within Fort Scott, the county seat, or the county will have to annex rural property for it. Martin said one of the issues is people's misconceptions of what jails really look like.

"This isn't, you know, 10 foot chain link fence, wire running around with guard towers and dogs running up and down and spotlights flashing all over the place, that is a state prison, that is a federal prison, this is our local county jail," Martin said.

While the new facility will meet codes such as giving inmates access to a window in order to distinguish day from night, the inmate won't see the public, and vice versa.

"You're not going to see inmates out in the yard because it's all enclosed and inside of a structure, when law enforcement happens to bring in their arrests, they go into a garage where the door will come down, the public will not see the person who is arrested," Martin said.

The local sales tax collection begins tomorrow to fund the jail and land proposals are due to the county clerk by Oct 13.

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