For Immediate Release
March 19, 2020
The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, announced today that we would initiate actions to reduce the impacts of this crisis on the criminal justice system, including the Jackson County Detention Center.
The office will halt prosecution of Driving While Revoked cases, those where a driver did not have a valid driver’s license. Such offenses submitted to the prosecutor’s office will be referred to the appropriate municipal court for consideration. Cases submitted to the prosecutor’s office with multiple charges, including Driving While Revoked, will still be considered by our office when public safety is impacted.
In addition, the prosecutor’s office will broaden its guidelines for those who would be eligible for the New Start diversion program. The Prosecutor’s Office continues to engage clients in our longstanding Drug Court program, Veteran’s Court and Mental Health Court. New Start was created by the Prosecutor’s Office to allow participants a separate diversion track. These cases are overseen by a judge and Missouri Probation & Parole and primarily focus on nonviolent offenses. Once a defendant completes this program, the pending charge is dismissed.
Further, our office will engage in proactive efforts to review bonds for those currently held in the Jackson County Detention Center and will minimize new bond conditions for those who do not pose a public safety or flight risk.
“These actions announced today will protect public safety, but also keep some defendants out of our jail during this crisis,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “This office has been proactive in limiting our impact on the Criminal Justice System, but today’s action’s are necessary to address this public health crisis.
“These actions will allow those in the justice system to focus further on those persons who are violence drivers and therefore impact public safety,” Baker added.
New Start was begun by the prosecutor’s office in 2013 to lessen the harmful impacts of the criminal justice system on defendants while also ensuring public safety. The Jackson County Detention Center has long been above capacity. But the actions announced today will not result in dangerous persons being released, Baker stated. Everyone in the criminal justice system will be encouraged to alert the prosecutor’s office of a defendant who poses a risk to public safety.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communication
Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office
Jean Peters Baker, Prosecutor
Work : (816) 881-3812
Mobile: (816) 674-3954