Greene County jail addition behind schedule, under budget

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Greene County has needed a new jail for a long time.

"We've been overcrowded for at least 14 years that I know of," Greene County Sheriff Dan Langston said. "It's not just once, it's every day."

Though an addition to the current jail has been in the works for awhile, Langston said the project is overdue.

There's good news with the bad though, the project is also under budget.

In April, Region 8 News toured the addition to the Greene County Jail. Since then, progress has been made in leaps and bounds but Langston said construction on the facility is still nearly 3 months behind schedule.

"We had some vendors, some material problems with getting the proper material in," Langston explained.

For instance, the protective glass they ordered in May just came in this week. Langston explained the company went bankrupt and they had to find a new supplier.

"It was time consuming, but again, we're under budget," he said.

Under budget by over $1 million. Langston said they've been able to do so by watching their budget without cutting corners.

"Our construction supervisor, I think he's been right on top of everything," Langston said. "It's been a group effort."

The addition will not only house hundreds of more inmates and cut down on major overcrowding within the Greene County Jail, but Langston also explained the security standards they've put in place are "top-notch."

Everything from reinforced concrete throughout the building to that protective glass to being able to maintain a cell on an individual basis.

"They can come in here and shut the water down and it's isolated to one cell," Langston explained. He added, "if a maintenance guy goes into a cell, he will not need any tools to bring inside the cell."

Langston explained that's because the actual jail is surrounded by a steel building.

"It was well thought of, not only maintenance wise but operation wise."

Though the open date has been pushed back, Langston says better to do it right than do it rushed.

"They're wanting to get in here sooner but we're not going to open up the new addition until it's time," Langston said.

The current projected open date is for mid-February. Langston says in the future, they'll have the opportunity to expand the new jail even more in three different directions.

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