SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A county in southwest Missouri is opening a jail in stainless steel semitrailers in a parking lot to help manage overcrowding.

The 53-foot (16-meter) semitrailers sit in a parking lot near the Greene County Jail. The temporary jail houses 108 beds stacked three high, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Sheriff Jim Arnott said the mesh netting over the recreation yard is built to withstand snow and ice. It also has security functions such as holding county prisoners and keeping out drugs and other contraband that could be hoisted in from a nearby street or dropped from a drone.

Arnott said the Greene County Jail’s overcrowding has led him to refuse low-level municipal offenders and forced some inmates to be transferred to other counties in southwest Missouri for a price. The new temporary facility could allow the county to save money by bringing its prisoners home, Arnott said.

The facility was built by All Detainment Solutions, which has previously built temporary shelters for disaster survivors. Company President Anthony Kelly said the trailer jail is considerably stronger than those used by hurricane refugees.

Kelly said the trailers will be reusable. The company is looking at other similar projects in counties in Missouri and nationwide, he said.

He said the trailer jail’s construction is nearly done but needs more staff before it can start holding inmates. Two officers will be on duty at a time, and it takes 13 staffers to keep the detainment facility operating around the clock.

It’s unclear how long the facility will be used. Arnott said the county’s initial lease with All Detainment Solutions lasts three years.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com