Officials from 6 counties discuss possible new jail - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Officials from 6 counties discuss possible new jail

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FORREST CITY, AR (KAIT) - City officials from five Arkansas counties will meet Thursday to discuss the possibility of a regional jail.

Due to the lack of space and funding, most of the counties have jails that are overcrowded. Officials want the jail to be within a central location between all six counties. Most counties are transporting inmates out of the county or letting them go free.

"There is a time when you're overcrowded, you have to make a decision," said Cross County Judge Jack Caubble.

And sometimes that decision may lead to letting some inmates go free.

"This guy is not as bad as this guy," Caubble said. "Now this guy is bad but he's not as bad as this one so we're going to order to free up space by letting this person go back out on the streets."

Caubble said this regional jail would be very beneficial to Cross County. 

"We would have a set cost," he said. "If we have ten percent of the population then we pay 10 percent of the costs."

The counties involved are Lee, Monroe, Phillips, Woodruff,  Cross and St. Francis. Cross County is currently housing inmates from Phillips County because their jail recently closed down.

"There is no where to put people so we are at a max at our facility right now," Caubble said. 

Phillips County pays Cross County $40 a day per inmate. Caubble said at times they have to send their inmates to another county especially their juvenile inmates.

"You have to also figure in the costs of transporting the prisoners we have in Cross County to another facility," he said.

He said juvenile transports cost 4 times as much as a regular inmate.

"We have got to make decisions today that will affect 30 or 40 years down the road," Caubble said. 

Officials are considering a sales tax each county to share the costs of the jail. The next step is to undergo a study that would reveal the best  location and cost for the regional jail.

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