Quorum court approves study to look at jail expansion in Randolph County

Quorum court approves study to look at jail expansion in Randolph County

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - One Region 8 jail is hoping to expand and the first step to make that happen is underway. Though they're in the beginning stages of alleviating overcrowding, the sheriff says it's a step in the right direction.

Day in and day out, county jails across Arkansas face overcrowding.

"You're seeing where there's threats of shut downs or shut downs of jails and some new jails being constructed as a result of the numbers increasing," Randolph County Sheriff Gary Tribble told Region 8 News.

Tribble said inmate volume is up across the board.

"We're seeing an increase in women but we're seeing an increase in men and juveniles too," Tribble said.

While the Randolph County Jail houses men, women and juveniles are housed out of county.

Sheriff Tribble explained that when budgets were drawn up last year, a certain amount of money was appropriated to house those women and juvenile inmates out of county but he didn't anticipate just how many arrests they'd have.

"We knew early on in the year that we had a potential problem and as the year progressed, our numbers continued to climb and it gets to the point where we recognize budget restraints," Tribble said.

Tribble has addressed the Randolph County Quorum Court on numerous occasions updating them about the problem. Recently, the court approved a feasibility study for possibly expanding the jail.

"Our intentions at this time with the study is not just look at future expansion of our jail, but to look at the probability of bringing the women inmates out of county back into our county in order to be cost saving."

However, Tribble said the feasibility study might just be the first step.

"I think at some point, we're going to have to propose that idea to the citizens."

Regardless of what the future may hold, Tribble said they have to have a jail in Randolph County.

"We have to have a place to put those offenders in order to keep our community safe," Tribble said.

County Judge David Jansen says contractors should be in town next month to look at the jail and determine the possibilities for expansion.

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