Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Offenders out early

Fewer guards, funds for KC jail cause premature release

April 10, 2002


— The city jail is shutting down one wing and releasing 48 offenders early because a budget crunch resulted in a shortage of guards.

Five male offenders convicted of such crimes as stealing, assault and drunken driving will be picked each day for early release. The first group was released Monday. All the offenders will have served more than half their sentences, said Superintendent Nancy Leazer.

Social service providers raised concerns after officials with Kansas City's Municipal Correctional Institution said late last month that they might be forced to release domestic violence offenders.

But Leazer said officials now think they can shut down the wing without letting out offenders convicted of domestic violence.

The staffing shortage is partially the result of a city hiring freeze that was imposed because of a tight budget. The staffing shortage already has resulted in the closure of another wing of the jail.

Industry standards recommend that the jail have 50 guards when it has reached its 300-inmate capacity. But the jail is operating with 27 guards.

The jail has received permission to hire two officers, and another three guards are expected to join the staff later this month.

But Leazer said the staffing additions won't be enough to avoid the latest wing closure

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