Mon, 08 Aug 2011 20:46:38 GMT — The new state of the art Cole County Jail is now home to inmates, including 17-year-old Alyssa Bustamante. Transport vans moved all of them from the old jail to the new one yesterday afternoon. Alyssa Bustamante is charged with the first degree murder of 9-year old Elizabeth Olten in 2009. She was 15 when officers arrested her and that had everything to do with why she wasn't kept in Cole County. Bustamante stayed in the Morgan County Jail for nearly two years since the Morgan County Jail was better equipped to handle the teenager, but now she's back in the county where she's accused of committing the crime. Cole County Sheriff Greg White said the old jail lacked certain features. "Our old jail for women had one 10 bed tank, and there's not very much isolation, well, there's no isolation in it, White said. You're just with a group of women, we had no ability to classify people based on the crimes they've committed, based on their relationships outside and here we certainly can." Now, Bustamante is staying in a standard cell with access to the day room, a television, and the phone. "The advantage is, if you're in a cell, with the population that we've got right now if people need to be in a cell by themselves they can be and as you know with the toilet sink and shower in there, you're not going to have any issues assaulting behavior in the shower, so we feel that she's very safe here," White said. White said a big benefit of having Bustamante back in Cole County is it's much more convenient for court appearances. "The big issue is of course anytime there's a court hearing we'd have to go down, pick her up, bring her up here, and then return her down there and return back, White said. So you've got two round trips for every court appearance. That's certainly cut down. It's now a two minute trip as opposed to an hour trip." The shorter distance will come in handy soon since Bustamante's jury trial is scheduled to start in a month. The new jail will help the budget in another way because Bustamante wasn't the only inmate living in another county jail. Sheriff White said there were about 20 inmates with her in Morgan county and 30-some-odd in Pettis. The sheriff also said when Bustamante first came to the Cole County Jail in 2009 she was the youngest inmate but that's not necessarily the case now. White said as of Monday morning there were 95 inmates in the jail.
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