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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A temporary jail in southwest Missouri will begin housing area inmates after sitting empty for weeks.

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott plans to start using the trailer jail Wednesday, the Springfield News-Leader reported . Arnott said deputies will bring back 108 inmates currently being housed in other jails across the state.

“Please be patient with us as we make this transitional period and work toward fulfilling our promise,” said a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Greene County’s lease on the temporary jail began last month but remained vacant because of a staffing shortage Arnott called a safety issue. The sheriff’s office said it has given job offers to 14 correctional officers over the past two weeks.

Arnott said the sheriff’s office has struggled with recruiting and keeping employees because of low wages. The Greene County Commission voted last week to implement a plan that gives all employees raises, and in each subsequent year provides cost-of-living and merit-based increases.

Arnott hopes to have both the temporary and permanent jail facilities fully staffed by mid-January.

The trailer jail is constructed from a series of semi-trailers that have been filled with sleeping bunks and other features. County Commissioner Lincoln Hough said the point of the temporary jail is to save money because Greene County currently pays other counties to house an average of 170 inmates each day.

County officials said they spent $1 million on boarding fees for those inmates as of August. The trailer jail is being leased for less than $875,000 a year for the first two years.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader,