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Jackson County prosecutor announces plan to reduce inmate population

KCMO woman dies in Jackson County Detention Center
Posted at 4:17 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 17:17:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — To help reduce the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic “on the criminal justice system, including the Jackson County Detention Center,” the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced some temporary changes Thursday.

Driving While Revoked cases will not be prosecuted unless submitted with multiple charges. Such cases instead “will be referred to the appropriate municipal court for consideration,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a release.

Guidelines for eligibility for the New Start diversion program, which are overseen by a judge and Missouri Probation and Parole and focus on nonviolent offenses, also have been broadened.

The Prosecutor’s Office also announced “proactive efforts to review bonds” for inmates at the Jackson County Detention Center and plans to “minimize new bond conditions for those who do not pose a public safety or flight risk” to help lower the population at the jail.

“These actions announced today will protect public safety, but also keep some defendants out of our jail during this crisis,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement. “This office has been proactive in limiting our impact on the Criminal Justice System, but today’s actions are necessary to address this public health crisis.”

Prosecutors will concentrate efforts on violent offenders.

According to Baker, “The Jackson County Detention Center has long been above capacity. But the actions announced today will not result in dangerous persons being released.”