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New Prison Proposed for Jefferson City

January 15, 1998
By: Caroline Noel
State Capital Bureau

A proposal to build yet another state prison in Missouri is underway at the Capitol, and officals claim that this facility may actually save taxpayers some money. Caroline Noel has this story in Jefferson City.

The Jefferson City Correctional Center, once home to James Earl Ray-- before he escaped and went on to assassinate Martin Luther King--will soon be demolished.

The facility has been in continuous operation since 1836.

State prison spokesman Tom Kneist says replacing the oldest prison west of the Mississippi is long overdue.

Actuality:
Contents: [171K WAV file - Tom Kneist, Mo. Dept. of Corrections]

Kneist says building a new prison would ultimately save taxpayers about $49 million dollars in maintenance fees and operating costs. "It costs a little over $32 a day per prisoner to house them at the current facility, while it normally costs the state $30 a day per prisoner."

Senator Danny Staples (D-Reynolds), Chair of the Joint Corrections Committee, points out that the new prison will not need as many staff as the current prison employs. "The new prison will eliminate about 135 jobs that we now have at the current facility."

Prison staff who lose their jobs at the new facility will be relocated to other prisons across the state.

From Jefferson City, I'm Caroline Noel.