St. Francois County jail faces overcrowding issues - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

St. Francois County jail faces overcrowding issues

Most of the public doesn't know just how many criminals they house in Farmington. Most of the public doesn't know just how many criminals they house in Farmington.
Staff are making adjustments to fit 220 inmates into space for 180. Staff are making adjustments to fit 220 inmates into space for 180.
FARMINGTON, MO (KFVS) -

Saint Francois County officials say the jail faces major overcrowding issues as the inmate population swells. And that leads to more stress, more danger and more work for staff.

Right now they are working long hours and simply making adjustments to fit 220 inmates into space for 180.

Jail administrators say they believe most of the public doesn't know just how many criminals they house in Farmington.

At central command at the Saint Francois County jail staff members keep an eye on the growing prison population. It's a number now usually above 200, and technically there's only space for 180

"It used to be a big deal for us to go over 200 inmates now it's not a big deal," said Hardy White, Jail Corporal.

"Last year we booked over 6,000 people. That's 16 a day we book," said Sgt. Dennis Smith, Jail Administration.

Smith says the high population stems from a growing county. Some of the factors contributing are more female inmates, and fewer individuals posting bond and cuts in mental health that resulted in fewer beds for those facilities and sent more people here

"Sometimes they are just a threat to the community since the state lost that we bear the burden of that," said White.

Part of the reason also is due to the way the system in Saint Francois County is set up, police departments don't have holding facilities, and they also have features like a padded cell.

"The vacancy light is always on," White said.

To deal with it, there are no plans to ask for a new building or addition yet. They are just making adjustments to deal with the swell.

"We just do what everyone does we adapt a lot of cell blocks are full some people sleep on the floor," White adds.

In the end while the increase in numbers mean more danger inside administrators say they'd rather deal with that than leave trouble on the streets.

"We have a large portion of sex offenders and a couple of murderers here in jail, said White."We do the best we can to move people thru the system."

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