Temporary Solution to Need for More Inmate Space at Jail Proposed

May 25, 2016

Greene County Jail
Credit KSMU

Greene County is asking the City of Springfield to contribute funds to construct and lease a new, temporary building to house inmates.

The facility would be built on a current parking lot just east of the jail at 933 N. Robberson.  Greene County Commissioner Bob Cirtin said the temporary jail, which would be considered maximum security, would have up to 130 beds with 20 of those designated for violators arrested on municipal charges.  The city is being asked to provide $1 million for three years.

"We are at, folks, an economic crossroads, and we need financial assistance.  The future of our community's safety is at risk," Cirtin said.

According to Cirtin, prisoners brought to the county jail by Springfield police always make up 70 to 75 percent of the jail population. He expects to lease the building up to five years while the county works to find ways to add capacity to the current jail.

Councilman Craig Hosmer expressed concerns with the proposal.

"We don't have money to do a lot of things the City of Springfield should be doing--paying our employees better, but for us to spend $1 million a year at $140 per inmate I don't think makes good fiscal sense," Hosmer said.

Cirtin told council members the city’s obligation would end after year three, which would compel further their effort to find a permanent solution for the jail overcrowding.

Cirtin asked that the city dismiss its lawsuit against the commission and the sheriff.

It was filed after the Greene County Sheriff stopped accepting municipal inmates at the county jail.

In March, the Springfield City Council freed up $500,000 to house inmates in Miller and Taney County detention facilities. At the time, the city called the move a "temporary solution to a long-standing disagreement with the Greene County Sheriff over the housing of municipal prisoners."