Image from FOX4 KC

The Jackson County Justice System announced its intentions on building a new detention center on top of a currently low-income community, effectively expelling current residents from the area.

The violent planned construction comes when there is an unprecedented housing crisis and the jail population in Jackson County, MO continues to explode. 

The new detention center is a direct attack on the Black community in Kansas City, MO given that Black people make up over 65% of the jail population despite representing only 24% of the total County population.

“Instead of wasting resources on jail space to reduce crowding, we need to be investing in resources like diversion and reentry programs that reduce the jail population and help people get back into their communities. The best way to improve people’s conditions is to get them released.” – Critical Resistance (a National organization comprised of people like Dr. Angela Davis and other Black freedom fighters).

The condition of the facility is a direct reflection of the value that city officials place on the prisoners inside. 

No need to take my word for it. Simply look at the pristine condition of the police buildings in our city.

KC Metro Patrol
KC Metro Patrol
KC Metro Patrol

It is no wonder that the building which enslaves people viewed as “dangerous” and “dirty” has been allowed to decay into a living hell, while police buildings appear as tidily up-kept as a state of the art corporate facility. 

The idea that building jails will solve houselessness, poverty, and lack of educational resources is a deranged, carceral ideology that has been indoctrinated into us and we have come to believe is normal. 

There is virtually zero long-term historical evidence to support the claim that punishment, enslavement and control are reasonable solutions to producing public safety. On the contrary, there are numerous studies, essays and books directly tying investments in life-affirming services like affordable housing, mental health and education, with improvements to public safety. 

Attempting to solve social issues such as poverty and houselessness by building jails is like deploying a nuclear bomb to alleviate an ant issue in your home: sure you might partially achieve your goal but you killed tens of thousands of people in the process. 

Not only will the Jackson County Detention Center cause massive harm and death within the Black community, but it will also not solve the problems it was allegedly attempting to solve in the first place.

The Kansas City Defender will be keeping our ear to the ground, specifically with Black-led Prison Industrial Complex Abolitionist organizations like Operation Liberation, KC Tenants, and Black Rainbow to provide you all information on ways to get involved in halting this violent project before it is built.

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KC Plans to Build New $250 Million Jail Amidst the Most Devastating Housing Crisis In Decades