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How big will the proposed jail/sheriff’s facility be and how much will it cost?


Size of the facility was determined by the amount of revenue available and construction costs. This 120-bed facility is more than double the capacity of the existing 52-bed jail, but the site allows for two 96-bed expansions in the decades to come. It includes offices for sheriff, jail, detective and road deputy personnel, as well as support staff, combining those operations under one roof for efficiency of operation. Costs increased significantly from initial estimates, leading to a total project cost, including equipping and furnishing the facility, of just under $24 million.

The county worked closely with architects to design a facility that:

  • enables the county to retire the existing inefficient, undersized and inadequately built 1984 jail;

  • allows it to house as many inmates as possible;

  • improves safety and security;

  • improves staffing efficiencies;

  • and allows for expansion.


The site and design should be able to accommodate two 96-bed expansions.

What is the 3/8-cent sales tax costing me?

A 3/8-cent sales tax adds just over a third of a cent to the cost of a dollar candy bar. For $20 worth of supplies at a store, it would add seven and a half cents.

What the new facility will do – and what it won’t do.


While the available funding allows the county to more than double the cell space, it won’t resolve all the issues related to boarding prisoners in other counties. A big part of this is the corrections requirements related to classification of prisoners and the trend toward more female prisoners, more prisoners being held for violent crimes, and the length of time they are held as their cases work their way through the court system.  A single crime can impact our numbers, as in a recent murder case involving numerous defendants who had to be separated.

If projections of potential bed space needs in 20 years prove accurate, Lawrence County will need to expand in the future. But the design will make those expansions easier and more affordable – something the existing jail does not allow. The site and design should allow two 96-bed expansions in the decades to come.

The new facility should also:

  • provide a safer, more secure environment for staff and inmates alike;

  • be designed for efficient use of staff, which is crucial in this difficult labor market;

  • provide more pandemic-related safeguards;

  • bring law enforcement services under one roof rather than spread among three buildings, allowing for other efficiencies; and

  • provide ample room for expansion.




    • TEXT OF THE BID NOTICE: Lawrence County is seeking bids for the new Law Enforcement Center project. A pre-bid meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in the Historic Courthouse (second floor courtroom), 1 Courthouse Square, Mt. Vernon, Mo. Public bid opening will be June 21. Nabholz Construction Corp. will be accepting sealed bids for concrete, masonry, steel, carpentry, waterproofing, doors, glass, drywall, flooring, painting, specialties, detention equipment, food service equipment, laundry equipment, pre-engineered metal buildings, fire suppression, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, low voltage cabling, access controls, fire alarm, earthwork, asphalt paving, fencing, landscaping and utilities. Bid responses and inquiries should be sent to Nabholz Construction, Jarrett Sims, (Advertisement for bids with links)

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