The commander of the Jasper County Detention Center has been named Jail Administrator of the Year by the Missouri Sheriff's Association.

The commander of the Jasper County Detention Center has been named Jail Administrator of the Year by the Missouri Sheriff's Association.
Jasper County Sheriff's Capt. Becky Stevens received the honor at a jail administrators conference earlier this month. The Jasper County Commissioners recognized Stevens at their regular meeting on Tuesday.
Stevens said she was excited to receive the award, but she passed credit on to her staff.
“I will say that I have a lot of staff that work with me to make the facility run as smoothly as it does,” Stevens said. “They deserve a lot of credit also.”
Stevens, who is the first woman jail administrator to win the award and the first woman captain in the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, said she intended to be a patrol officer when she started her career in law enforcement, but she became fascinated with corrections work when she was assigned to the jail.
“Once I started working in the jail I fell in love with the place and saw a need and decided to stick around,” Stevens said. “I saw a need for some direction, someone who cared about everyone in the facility.”
Erik Theis, Jasper County Courts Administrator, said Stevens works with the courts to identify people who can be moved through the system more quickly or who might be candidates for the different treatment courts in the county.
“A high percentage of the people in the county jail are held pre-trial and there's research out there that shows that people who are incarcerated for long periods of time have a higher recidivisim rate,” Theis said. “So we work with the sheriff's office and Capt. Stevens to quickly identify people that can go through our treatment court programs and try to fast-track them through the system toward resolution.”
Stevens said one of her passions is making sure people with mental health problems who get caught in the legal system get the help they need.
“With mental health facilities being closed down, we get a lot of people who have committed a crime, but they don't belong in jail,” Stevens said. “So I feel I'm an advocate for those people to help push them along and get them the help they need. There's absolutely a need for more awareness for individuals, especially individuals with mental health issues or those who can't speak on their behalf.”
Theis said her work in that area helps the individuals in the system and it helps the county.
“It's not just holding people in jail and that's it, she's really good at identifying people with mental health issues, she's really good about identifying people with drug problems,” Theis said. “So when we work collaboratively together, the sheriff's office and the court system, we're able to move these people through the system much faster and more efficiently. That's good for the defendant and it's good for the county because we're getting these people into treatment, and it's less expensive and a better use of tax dollars.”