Jasper County jail expansion looks to change inmates’ lives

A Construction Worker Works On The Jasper County Jail Expansion

 

CARTHAGE, Mo. – Thanks to Jasper County voters, a new roughly 13 million dollar expansion will be bringing some big changes to the Jasper County jail.

“For the majority of people in Jasper County, they can’t remember a time when we weren’t talking about overcrowding in our jail, so we’ve finally got a solution to that by adding on 135 beds to our current 183 beds that we have,” said Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser.

But that extra space won’t stop with more beds. A good chunk of it will be used for the needs of inmates and those dedicated to assisting and rehabilitating them.

“One of the big benefits that we’re going to have is the fact that we have room for professional visits now. In our current facility we have exactly one room dedicated for that which obviously is not enough when you take into account that we have upwards of 300 prisoners at any given time, and they have to be visited by their attorney, probation and parole, and other professionals that come into utilize this facility,” said Sheriff Kaiser.

But when it comes to getting inmates back on the right track, Sheriff Kaiser thinks the expansion’s crown jewel might be the new space dedicated to drug addiction, treatment, and mental health issues.

“Basically it’s the space where we can have three or four or five or ten inmates come and receive services from a provider. There are several different treatment options and treatment programs they can go through,” said Sheriff Kaiser.

The sheriff also says the new space for drug treatment will make Jasper County’s jail a leader in Missouri.

“We are the first county in the state of Missouri to offer programs like this. Obviously, we’re very excited about that and I think it’s long overdue,” said Sheriff Kaiser.

And it’s not just law enforcement that’s excited. Louise Secker, the development director of Joplin’s Lafayette House, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women dealing with substance use disorders, is thrilled the county will soon have another resource to assist addicts.

“The substance use issues in our area are extensive and the cause of a lot of other problems that stem from that, so I think any resource that’s made available through the courts or through treatment centers that’s for local people is going to be a real benefit for everyone,” said Secker.

The entire jail expansion is expected to be completed by February 2022.