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Jefferson City Correctional Center sets to open

June 24, 2004
By: Josh Hinkle
State Capital Bureau

State officials gather at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Jefferson City Correctional Center... the replacement to the nation's oldest state penitentiary west of the Mississippi.

Josh Hinkle reports.

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Music echoed throughout the correctional center's gymnasium as Governor Bob Holden stood proudly after explaining the responsibiliy of the state to build prisons to confine dangerious felons.

Other state officials like Attorney General Jay Nixon joined him in expressing the purpose of the facility to protect not only the public, but also prison workers.

"In times like these, it is important to note that the toughest beat to walk is done by our corrections officers who walk the halls of these institutions."

A historian read a list of important dates in the history of the 168-year-old Missouri State Penitentiary.

Many of which included the killings of prison workers by inmates.

But prison officials like Tim Kniest say the new prison's layout will make workers' jobs much safer.

"This is how modern architecture in prisons help with the security of the facility."

And this extra security came at a considerable price.

The facility cost nearly 130-million dollars... with electric fences and openly visible cell block layouts as just a few of the extra precautions.

But prison officials say the amount of money that went into the project will certainly help well-protect the near 700 workers.

The prison will hold nearly two thousand inmates and is set to open later this year.