WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. — Overcrowding is a concern for jails across the Ozarks. Webster county is working to make more room.
“It’s just gonna be a lot more effective and it’ll be a lot more efficient,” Sheriff Roye Cole of the Webster county sheriff’s office said. “It’s extremely important for us to have justice in this community, and I think that’s what will it’ll help us bring.”
Webster county has been seeking a new jail for over 40 years. They’ve finally gotten what they’ve wanted, but that doesn’t mean Cole won’t miss his current facility.
“In a way, I’m sad,” Cole said. “All my friends here are here. I’m being a bit isolated.”
The current Webster county jail holds 32 beds. Their average population stands at 65 inmates. This leaves a less than ideal situation for everyone involved.
“We don’t have a safe place to keep people separated when they have illnesses,” Cole said. “Contagious illnesses are easily spread inside of our facility. Not just our inmates but to the staff and citizens that come up there and visit.”
23 inmates have to sleep in the most uncomfortable way possible.
“They’re lined up on the floor until we just can’t take anymore and we send them out,” Cole said.
That’s where this new facility will help out. There’s going to be 116 beds. The kitchen can also serve up to 300+ inmates should overpopulation occur. This new facility is something the current jail has lacked for a long time.
“We actually have places in this facility where we’ll be able to separate inmates which is something we’ve never been able to have,” Cole said. “We have six isolation cells and that’s not even the housing unit.”
This $1.4M project should be complete by September 1. Cole hopes his overpopulation problems can finally be put to rest.
“Lord-willing,” Cole said.