Issues at Jackson County jail take center stage at Monday meetings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Issues at the Jackson County Detention Center once again took center stage on Monday night for two meetings held on the topic.

A jail task force listened to public input on possible solutions during a gathering at Manual Career Technical Center while county legislators held a meeting dealing with the jail in the evening.

Discussion has grown on what leaders should do at Jackson County Detention Center following a scathing report released last month.

The report by a grand jury outlined a number of alleged issues, including:

  • Dirty living spaces
  • Cells covered in graffiti
  • Doors and elevators not working
  • Constant water and sewage leaks
  • Assaults taking place on a daily basis
  • Overcrowding with inmates
  • Guards being understaffed

The 70-page document also described how some inmates allegedly pled guilty to crimes to flee conditions at the facility.

The report led to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker calling on county leaders to transfer control of the jail over to the sheriff.

She also said the jail was the most serious problem facing the county.

With a possible solution to the alleged issues still to be determined, a former inmate spoke to 41 Action News on Monday about her time in the facility.

Ashley Faulkenberry served time after being convicted on drug charges and said conditions inside the Jackson County Detention Center stood out.

“It’s bad. The ceiling leaks constantly. There’s mold in the women’s bathroom,” she said. “The way the place runs I’m surprised it’s still up.”

Faulkenberry described fights that occurred during her time and how inmates vastly outnumbered the guards.

“I’ve seen people’s eyes and lips get busted open,” she said. “It’s a horrible place. I wouldn’t even let my dog go there. I would not allow my dog to go to this place because it’s that nasty.”

With discussion over whether or not to transfer control over to the sheriff, Faulkenberry hoped a solution would come soon.

“I think they have a lot more work than they understand,” she said. “If the sheriff takes over, they really need to come in and clean house and get rid of a lot of things and get this under control.”

Moving forward, the jail task force plans to hold at least one more meeting on the detention center.

It will be held Tuesday from 1:30 — 3:00 pm at the Union Station-World Trade Center Conference Room.

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