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Jackson County enters contract for replacement of jail

KCMO woman dies in Jackson County Detention Center
Posted at 1:35 PM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 14:35:26-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Jackson County Legislature approved the next step in replacing the embattled Jackson County Detention Center.

Based on a recommendation from the Jackson County Jail Working Group, the legislature awarded JCDC Partners LLC of Kansas City, Missouri, a $1.3 million contract as the owner’s representative for the project.

JCDC Partners “will have primary management, oversight and collaborative responsibility for the development of a new jail,” according to a release from the county that announced the decision.

The county issued a request for proposals in April and received five bids, including three that were deemed to meet all project qualifications.

Stakeholders reviewed the proposals and made a recommendation to the County Legislature, which it accepted Monday in approving the funding.

The Jackson County Jail Working Group included County Executive Frank White Jr., County Legislature Chairwoman Theresa Galvin and Sheriff Darryl Forté.

“With the Legislature’s approval, we are one step closer to a state-of-the-art safe and secure detention facility that will serve our community for decades to come,” White said.

Now, JCDC Partners has 120 days to complete a validation of need and programming, which are the first two steps in the master agreement, according to the county.

“The Legislature’s approval is an important milestone for us,” Galvin said. “We know more hard work lies ahead, but I am grateful for the support of my legislative colleagues, the County Executive and Sheriff as we move forward in the best interest of the County.”

Once JCDC Partners completes the first two components, it will set the stage for architectural criteria building, which is when a real vision for the project will begin to come into focus.

“This is a community issue that cannot be solved by one individual,” Forté, who took over jail operations earlier this year, said. “We must all be engaged in the process and I am proud of the collaboration that has led to this point. As this process continues, the safety and security of our community, staff and inmates in our current detention facility remains a top priority.”

A Jackson County grand jury issued a scathing 70-page report in May 2018.

Numerous groups have called for change, including a task force recommendation in January that concluded the county needed to build a new facility.

The Jackson County Detention Center has been plagued by violence, by officers and inmates, as well as overcrowding, contraband scandals and other issues.

Kansas City, Missouri, police stopped housing inmates at the jail in June after a dispute over contracted costs, but the city has reversed course after ongoing problems at a temporary facility.

The Heartland Center for Behavioral Change, which was never intended to be a jail or house high-level violent offenders, recently lost its insurance amid problems created by KCPD inmates — including several escapes and other safety concerns.

JCDC Partners will work under the direction of the County Project Manager for “planning, site selection/acquisition, design, construction, commissioning and occupancy,” according to the county.