A jail in Northwest Missouri is closing indefinitely.
The Livingston County Jail, which is located in Chillicothe, Mo., will close, effective immediately. Inmates will be moved Wednesday to the Daviess/DeKalb County Regional Jail in Pattonsburg, Mo.
Livingston County commissioners cited several circumstances that led to their decision, including the general condition of the 34-year-old jail, staffing issues and overall costs.
“The main reasons are the condition of the jail facility and the staffing issues we have in taking care of the prisoners themselves. We have some very serious sewer issues that would be pretty cost prohibitive,” said Sheriff Steve Cox. “When you factor in everything, it will allow us to live within our means and take immediate action on staffing issues.”
Mr. Cox said recent behavioral problems in the jail have forced sheriff’s deputies out of the community and into the facility to help the five detention officers who work there full time. Those five officers were notified Friday that their positions would be eliminated in the near future, likely after the first of the year.
Eva Danner Horton, presiding commissioner, said in a press release the county does not have adequate revenue or reserves to address any of the jail’s main issues, and felt it was not the proper time to ask citizens to support an additional bond or tax increase. She said that in 2010, the county was reimbursed by the state nearly $160,000 per prisoner, which helped maintain its budget, but that number has dropped to $110,000 in 2012.
From now on, all Livingston County inmates will be housed at the Daviees/DeKalb County Regional Jail, 102 N. Meadows Lane, in Pattonsburg, Mo. While an official agreement has not yet been reached, Mr. Cox said the county will pay the jail no more than $30 per inmate per day.
“This agreement is expected to permit us to live within our means and not ask for additional revenue,” Ms. Danner Horton said in the release. “This will also free up additional staff hours for the deputies and sheriff to conduct law enforcement work and investigations, instead of guarding detainees.”
The current Livingston County Jail will be transformed into a storage facility for the county and also will house a secure evidence room for the Sheriff’s Department.
“We’re going to make better use of the space that we already have,” Mr. Cox said.
There are currently 23 inmates housed in the 48-bed facility.