Lawrence County Jail set to close

Lawrence County Jail set to close

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Lawrence County Jail is set to close.

On Wednesday morning, the Arkansas Jail Standards Committee met with Lawrence County officials about the jail.

The committee voted unanimously to close the facility after failing inspections for more than ten years.

The deadline to close the doors is September 17th and if the jail is not closed by then the Arkansas Attorney General's Office will file a lawsuit.Issues listed with the jail included overcrowding, lack of space, lack of a working sprinkler system, lack of a fire alarm system and several other issues.

"That's pretty serious and pretty sad," said Hoxie resident, Patricia Douglas. " If you've been bad or breaking the law, what you get is what you get but we're human and we deserve to be treated somewhat fairly."

Inmates will be transferred to Greene County and will use Skype for court hearings. District Judge Jason Marshall told Region 8 News he will hold court wherever the inmates are stationed. County officials are working to get a 6 month extension to keep the jail open while they figure out a more permanent plan. Marshall said they will build holding rooms for staging inmates for court and for people accused of DWI.

"The pictures that I saw of the bars looked really bad and the paint job was worst and as old as the building is we don't know if there are more problems," Douglas said.

Marshall said the plan is to build a new jail but it will be months before they have any concrete plans. He will meet with officials Friday to come up with ideas for alternative sentencing. Marshall suggested using ankle monitors and  public service work.

County Judge Dale Freeman has called for a special Quorum Court meeting on September 4th to discuss the situation.

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