New study could change Boone County Jail population
COLUMBIA - Former Judge Gary Oxenhandler says Boone County Jail inmates who don't pose a threat to the community should not be taking up room at the facility. Instead, he is recommending they be dealt with in some other way.
"They would be under the hospice of adult court services or in some instances under probation and parole that we have all sorts of electronic equipment, bracelets and anklets that people can wear," Oxenhandler said.
Boone County commissioners appointed Oxenhandler to study the jail's population and inmate control.
At issue, whether a new facility should be built or the current one enlarged.
Oxenhandler said he had to determine the "tipping point."
"It's very complicated getting to that point." Oxenhandler said.
He said he doesn't think the focus should be on the building, but rather on finding other solutions.
"We have to do our very best, we have to elevate our game to make sure that we are not housing anybody in that jail that doesn't need to be in that jail," Oxenhandler said.
He said those who don't pose a threat should be moved.
"There's lots of ways of dealing with people," he said.
But, Boone County Prosecuting Attourney Dan Knight said putting even non-threatening criminals in jail could be beneficial.
"The offenders might very well have second thoughts about committing other crimes after serving jail time. For youthful offenders, it can deter future, more serious crimes," Knight said.
Oxenhandler suggested taking on a consultant and auditor to investigate the classification of inmates and how to reduce the numbers.