Mayor James 'Impatient' To Resolve Issues At Jackson County Jail

Aug 30, 2016

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says the city has other options if Jackson County can't resolve issues at its correctional center.
Credit Corbis / Flickr-CC

Following allegations that two women were sexually assaulted inside their cells at the Jackson County Jail, Kansas City Mayor Sly James says his patience is wearing thin. 

"However, being impatient doesn't solve the problem," James told KCUR's Steve Kraske on Up To Date.   "We have an investigation going, outside council has been hired by the county and we’re hopeful that that investigation will be swift and conclusive and then that the county will take appropriate action." 

A statement released Sunday by Jackson County said two female inmates had potentially been sexually assaulted by one or more male inmates on Friday, Aug. 26. 

By Monday, all female detainees had been either released or moved to the Platte County jail. City Manager Troy Schulte said in a statement that the women wouldn't return until Jackson County addresses any issues that could put them in danger. 

For several years, municipal detainees have been sent to Jackson County's facility. Issues over the last few years sparked the creation of a task force last summer. Mayor James said if these issues cannot be resolved, the city has other options. 

"We have arrangements with other counties as well, and so if we have to we’ll shift to another county," James said. 

It's not his first choice. James said he prefers to keep people who are in jail on city charges close to their families. 

In the long term, James said we need to put fewer people in jail. 

"I think we need to find other ways to deal with some of these problems rather than simply to jail people. Because what we have is an overcrowding problem but we also have an efficiency problem," he said. 

Jackson County has hired former United States Attorney Todd Graves to conduct the investigation.

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and newscaster at KCUR 89.3. You can follow her on Twitter, @larodrig.