From the Bates County Sheriff’s Office

To the Citizens of Bates County,

Now is the time to begin reminding the Governor and Missouri Law makers who they work for, and demand safer communities.

Sheriffs across the state have consistently argued that the “catch and release” program has not and does not work. Law Enforcement have continued to prove time and time again that these offenders are reoffending again and again while out on parole. We’ve asked that Missouri pass a Truth in Sentencing so that the Missouri Citizens know the truth about how much of a sentence an inmate actually does in prison. The Department of Corrections owes Missouri Counties Millions of Dollars for housing and have tried to figure ways to get out of paying. They have already closed one prison and shifted the responsibility of housing convicted inmates to the Sheriffs, while many agencies struggle to pay Deputies a living wage and jailers even less.

Several years ago law makers re-structured the criminal code and added a new felony level, a class F felony. The crimes listed in this classification used to be a class D Felony and time would be served in the prison system for violators. Now, crimes that were a class D felony is a class F felony and time has to be served in the county jail. All done without the approval of Missouri Citizens.

Most Missouri county Jails were already at or over capacity with inmates and can’t afford to pick up the work of the Department of Corrections. Most Sheriffs Offices struggle to financially run the jail, service the courts and offer police services to rural residence in their county. Most Sheriffs have seen their budgets cut year after year but yet the state agencies seemed increases each and every year and reduce their obligation the the Citizens of Missouri.

Reducing the number of beds in the prison system DOES NOT reduce crime and it ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT MAKE OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER. It DOES shift the financial burden onto the counties of which majority of the counties are 3rd and 4th class counties who struggle to meet the needs of their citizens on the very limited tax base.

Citizens need to know, what are the plans for offenders who are sentenced to DOC for crimes committed in our community?

Who wins/loses when the state is more worried about being able to say they have reduced jail populations without reducing crime rates?

When are the citizens going to get truth in sentencing?

Where does the funding come from for our Sheriffs to perform the extra duties/inmates when this things happen?

When are we returning the prison system back to hold offenders accountable by being a punishment system not a rehabilitation system?

Is the funding saved from closing wings and not filling employment positions, going to fix our broken mental health system so that we aren’t filling jails with people who legitimately need mental health help? (By the way, talking justice reform, putting mental health patients in jail is what we used to do in the 1800s and early 1900s. It was and still is extremely in-humane)

When are we going to quit believing that repeat offenders just need a hug and everything is going to be ok?

Sheriff Anderson