The Cole County Jail opened its finished sally port Wednesday. The entryway will allow prisoners to be unloaded from jail vehicles in a more secure environment.
The project is part of the improvements that have been made on the Cole County jail system.
Until now, prisoners have been brought in and unloaded in the alley behind the jail, right across from a day care center.
In the past, there have been issues with prisoners making comments to children as they are being brought in.
“Those kids get on and off their folks’ cars right there in the alley where we’re bringing prisoners in and out,” Cole County Commissioner Marc Ellinger told ABC 17 News. “They’re in the same alley and the same location.”
The new and more secure facility is where prisoners will be delivered for court dates and other transports.
“This eliminates the prisoners being in the alley at any time,” Ellinger said. “They will always be in a secure environment, first in a secured jail vehicle, then in this facility, the doors will shut.”
Day care workers have voiced their concerns for a long time and said seeing prisoners in orange jump suits and handcuffs has been disturbing to some of the children.
They say they are thrilled about the finished project and believe it creates a safer environment.
“(It will be) less traumatic on the kids and safer for the church, safer for the preschool as well,” Jefferson City First United Methodist Church Administrator, Jerry Kelly told ABC 17 News.
Ellinger said his reasons behind adding this sally port were centered on safety, not only for the day care, but for the community as well.
The jail will begin using the facility Monday.