Douglas County marks grand opening of new jail

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Mo. -- Hundreds of people were behind bars Tuesday in Douglas County for the grand opening of the new jail.

Taxpayers from Ava, Missouri got a first look inside. The new jail has 48 beds, compared to only 21 at the old facility, which was around 60 years old.

Voters passed a half-cent sales tax in 2016 to pay for some of the construction, but a large part of the jail is also being financed.

The $6 million facility is said to be safer for inmates and jailers because of new technology. Cells can be accessed from behind a computer.

"Currently we deal with inmates on a face-to-face basis every day," says Douglas County Sheriff Chris Degase. "This is going to be a huge transition for my staff. Right now we go to open up a door to get into a cell, and you have eight inmates right there looking at you. This is being eliminated with this system."

Inmates will begin moving in two weeks. The sheriff is also hiring three new jailers.

Soon, most of the schools security cameras in Douglas County and also be monitored at the sheriff's office.