Open house held at new Moniteau County jail

At the open house of the new Moniteau County Jail, KaLynn Irey poses with a sign in the place the booking photos are to be taken.

At the open house of the new Moniteau County Jail, KaLynn Irey poses with a sign in the place the booking photos are to be taken. Photo by David Wilson.

The new Moniteau County jail hosted a number of area residents at the open house held on Saturday, March 2, from 1 to 4 p.m. The jail is on a site north of the courthouse at the corner of North Street and Highway 87.

The visitors of all ages checked out the three housing pods, booking station, control room and holding cells.

The main pod is for the general population. One is for females and the third for other inmates, such as temporary weekend holds. Each of the pods contains a common area with tables and seats and several cells on two levels. Individual cells will accommodate from two to six inmates.

One visitor commented that the cells look comfortable, but once the door is closed, everything changes.

Each pod has a video visitation station which is connected with one of the three stations in the video visitation room. With the new technology, inmate visitations will be held without the visitor ever being in the same part of the building as the inmate.

The booking station has "live scan printing" technology for fingerprints. No ink is used with this kind of printing. A breath testing device will soon be installed in the booking area.

The officer at the booking area can also take booking photos, sometimes called "mug shots."

The new jail is an up-to-date electronic facility, with the intent of allowing one jailor to maintain control and security. It is designed to provide adequate security, allow reasonable access, efficiency of operation and ease of maintenance.

The holding cells are off the booking area, and were called by the architect, "dirty bullpens."

The facility is finished off with an outside exercise area and the kitchen and laundry room.

The new jail is also designed to meet certain ADA standards for handicap accessibility.

One goal for the design and location of the jail was to eliminate as much transportation of prisoners to and from the facility as possible. The location selected across the street from the courthouse takes care of most of the transportation issue.

Another goal was flexibility. The idea is segregation of different areas without those areas being dedicated to a particular use forever. A room available for initial arraignment and hearings and meetings with probation and parole personnel should take care of that.

It has been just over a year since ground was officially broken for the new jail on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011.

The project was in the works for several years . The completed facility is capable of housing up to 42 inmates, including 12 to 16 females. This is a financial advantage to the county, since housing inmates elsewhere just sends county dollars away.

The jail facility currently in use was built in 1982. It can house only 16 inmates in eight cells. While that was sufficient inmate space when it was built 29 years ago, even then it actually lacked the space per inmate required by federal standards, according to a former sheriff.

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