GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – City and state leaders and community members attended a dedication ceremony for the new Greene County Jail Wednesday morning.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Greene County is an example to the state.
"When people are looking into where they're going to relocate jobs, where they're going to invest their economic development dollars, they want to see they're going someplace safe and they want to go someplace with a strong law enforcement community, " McDaniel said.
"For us to be able to fight a crime rate, we have to be able to people who get sentenced to jail have to be able to have a place to go," said Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill. "This is going to provide for us the room that's necessary so that the people who deserve punishment will get it."
Greene County Sheriff Dan Langston said, "The people out here that are creating victims and doing crimes against our people in Greene County, we have a place for them now."
"This is a long time coming. We've been working on this for about 14 years at least."
"Originally when they built the jail there was some concern, and of course when they did have the jail break that ended up in our yard that was an issue," said Greene County resident Renae Getson.
Despite that incident in the mid-1990s, Getson still feels safe in her home that is located near the existing and new Greene County jails.
Sheriff Langston said the design is an expanded version of the Dunklin County Jail in Kennett.
"We've gone through a bunch of plans. We've studied and this was the best."
Local leaders said the detention center fills a void and should give people more peace of mind.
"Many times what happens is someone gets sentenced to thirty days and they have to wait before they can come in and do their thirty days because they can't be immediately incarcerated," said Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington.
"For us to be able to fight a crime rate, we have to be able to people who get sentenced to jail have to be able to have a place to go," said Mayor Gaskill.
"Justice can be done because as a judicial system places them in a detention facility we now have one in Greene County large enough and built sufficient to do so," said Greene County Judge Jerry Shipman.
Sheriff Langston also thanked taxpayers like Getson who voted in 2011 in favor of an increased sales tax that was used to build the jail.
"It was presented to the people of Greene County. They passed it by over 70% vote."
The north and south ends of the new building will hold 156 inmates. The facility holds 418 beds.
The old jail will be renovated to house administrative offices and the work release program.
No date has been set for transferring inmates.