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Carthage City Council Approves First Reading of Plan to Send Cit - KOAM TV 7

Carthage City Council Approves First Reading of Plan to Send City Inmates to County Jail

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CARTHAGE, MISSOURI -

To cut costs, the Carthage Police Department is hoping to send some of its inmates to the county jail.

Carthage Police Captain Bill Hawkins says "We've noticed that the cost for housing inmates is going up, the length of stay that a person spends in jail has also increased."

The typical inmate is now spending about 48 hours in the city jail, as opposed to 24. The jail only holds six inmates and on weekends it can reach that or sometimes over capacity.

“It really has come to the point where we either need to get into the jail business full time or we need to utilize someone that already is."

Every year about 3,300 inmates are booked into the county jail. Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser says adding a handful more from Carthage isn't going to make much of a difference in the long run.

"It's really not and they're not suited for housing inmates as far as the staffing and everything goes and we are and…with them doing the footwork with the booking process… that really takes a big burden off of us,” says Sheriff Kaiser.

To keep up with demand the Carthage Police Department would have to hire on four to five jailers to monitor prisoners 24/7. That would cost about $40,000 to $45,000 an officer, versus only $32,000 a year if they contract out with the Sheriff's Office who has plenty of room.

"We have concerns about you know housing a lot of high risk individuals because you have to have a lot of room to house them, because a lot of times they're housed separately. But as far as having the room to house low risk individuals we're pretty comfortable in that area."

The Sheriff's Office has similar contracts with the towns of Jasper and Sarcoxie.

The city council approved the memorandum of understanding after its first reading Tuesday night. It will go before a vote after its second reading at the next city council meeting.

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