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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

City of Springfield to Pay to House Inmates in Other Counties

City of Springfield

The City of Springfield will pay thousands of dollars to two area counties to house its inmates.

According to a city news release, Springfield City Council voted Monday to allocate up to $500,000 to house inmates in Miller and Taney County detention facilities.  It's seen as a "temporary solution to a long-standing disagreement with the Greene County Sheriff over the housing of municipal prisoners," the release states.

The agreements are for one year and will be paid with carryover funds from the city's fiscal year 2015 budget.

Springfield officials have been looking into alternative jail space for months, according to the city, but until now inmate transport to other facilities hadn't been feasible due to the time required to take two officers off their beats to take an offender to an out-of-county facility.

But recently Miller County offered to include inmate transport in its $38 a day housing cost agreement.

According to the news release, since Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott stopped accepting municipal inmates at the county jail April 3, 2015, 3,945 people have been released on their own recognizance on 5,683 Springfield warrants.

A lawsuit filed by the city seeking a declaratory judgment on whether or not the Greene County Sheriff is contractually required to accept municipal prisoners according to a 1997 agreement is still pending.

City manager, Greg Burris, says "the City continues to be interested and willing to negotiate with Greene County to develop a long-term solution to this community-wide problem," according to the release.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.