Forte' defends his deliberate pace in preparing a report on the troubled jail

Bill Grady
February 20, 2019 - 5:55 am

KMBC Channel 9 News

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The Jackson County Legislature and Sheriff Daryl Forte' are not getting along these days because of continuing concerns about dangerous conditions at the jail.

KMBZ reached out Tuesday to two county legislators who did not return calls by deadline. The jail has for years experienced major problems, including poor maintenance, overcrowding, contraband smuggling, and corruption in the staff. A consultant's report in 2018 said the jail is in crisis mode.

Legislators want regular updates from Forte', but the sheriff is waiting until he develops a comprehensive strategy to issue a final report. 

In an exclusive interview with KMBZ, Forte' said previous reviews have been lacking.

"There's not a lot to talk about the human capital, you know, the employees and the inmates, so I'm gathering some additional information before I come out publicly," Forte' said. "The least amount of time a task force was report was submitted, or an assessment of audit, was seven months, and one took over a year, so I'm going to do what's right."

Forte' was named interim sheriff in 2018, ran for office last November, and was inaugurated for his first official term about six weeks ago.

"I can be held civilly and criminally liable for what's going on in the jail," Forte' said. "I've made over a half dozen visits inside the jail, not counting the ones I monitor from the outside. I've talked to former inmates, former employees, current employees, one-on-one meetings; I'll continue to do that."

A grand jury concluded the jail was overcrowded when it opened. That was in 1984. A new correctional facility would cost up to $270 million.

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