COLUMBIA – A TARGET 8 fact check finds mid-Missouri county jails do not hold inmates charged with marijuana-related offenses in large numbers, despite some public opinion.
Inmate rosters from the surrounding area showed very few inmates were being held on marijuana charges exclusively. Most charged with a marijuana-related offense had other aggravating charges.
Public misconception of the situation
TARGET 8 decided to investigate after some expert and public opinion conflicted on the nature of the situation.
In February, TARGET 8 published an investigation into Missouri’s debt to its county jails. The story broke down why and how growing inmate populations are costing the state more money.
As a result of the story, Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism and some KOMU 8 viewers shared different views on the idea of marijuana users filling jails.
In a February interview related to the jail debt story, Chism told TARGET 8, “There is a misperception that our jail and many county jails are full of misdemeanor offenders, that is the furthest from the truth as it can be.”
When KOMU published the story on its Facebook page later that month, there was a debate in the comment section on that issue.
William Mountain commented, “Legalize marijuana and do away with a lot of those inmates while creating a larger tax base..seems like a no brainer to me..”
James Stodgell agreed with Mountain