For too many years, Kansas City has inhumanely treated people not charged with or convicted of a crime by throwing them in the decrepit eighth-floor jail at Police Headquarters. Everyone involved has long known this practice is unacceptable.
Finally, local officials have agreed to close the jail in 2015 and, in the future, detain many suspects in the nearby Jackson County Regional Correctional Center in downtown Kansas City.
The city jail should have been shuttered decades ago — or overhauled with money that Kansas City taxpayers approved more than a decade ago for renovations of the headquarters.
Instead, the police board kept the jail open and, along with city officials, decided to spend money on improving other parts of the building next to City Hall.
The new agreement reportedly will save tax funds by reducing the annual cost of keeping suspects behind bars. The decision also will allow the police to finally staff holding areas at satellite patrol divisions. This will cut travel time for officers who currently take suspects to the downtown jail. Essentially, officers in the future could get back on the street more quickly.
Those are among the positive points made by city and county officials, which makes it doubly insulting that they didn’t work more diligently to achieve this kind of result much sooner.