Arkansas sheriffs plan legislative push to ease county jail over - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas sheriffs plan legislative push to ease county jail overcrowding

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - At Monday night's quorum court meeting, Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd warned the quorum court that if the Arkansas Department of Correction didn't take back some of their prisoners by Friday, they'd have to shut the jail down to misdemeanor arrests again.

Boyd told Region 8 News on Wednesday that they have been able to rearrange things to create a bit more jail space. However, until the ADC relieves them of some of those felons, the sheriff says they're taking things day by day.

Boyd said the statewide problem has no immediate solution in sight. County jails across Arkansas are operating over capacity because of overcrowding at the Arkansas Department of Correction.

"We can't hold the inmates in our county jail that the county jail is actually designed for," Boyd said.

County jails, by law, must hold those felons with no idea of when they can send them to the Department of Correction.

"At the same time, they could call us tomorrow and say okay, you can bring x-number," he explained.

But that uncertainty on the state level trickles down to the county jails. Boyd said they must count their number of inmates daily to make sure they still have room.

Right now, they are holding 111 state inmates.

In August, a similar situation caused the jail to stop accepting misdemeanor arrests.

Though they came close to doing it again, Boyd said it's a problem sheriffs are used to by now.

"There's several counties in Arkansas that, over the past year and a half, have not accepted any misdemeanors. Period."

There are ideas out there to ease overcrowding at the ADC like the possibility of a new, 1,000 bed prison in the state. But Boyd said even that would take years to complete.

"We wouldn't see any immediate relief in that. Another idea is to start sending department of correction inmates out of state."

In the meantime, sheriffs from across the state are working to make their voices heard in Little Rock. In the next couple weeks, Boyd said the Sheriff's Association will deliver a packet to state legislators with a number of ADC inmates they say is feasible for county jails to hold. 

Right now, there are 2,700 prisoners are waiting for bed space at the ADC. Boyd said the number they can work with is over a thousand less than that.

"If we could keep the number down around the 1600 figure, that's manageable for everybody."

Sheriff Boyd said people have asked him why there haven't been talks about an addition to the jail. 

He said it wouldn't be smart to ask taxpayers to fund that as every jail in the state is dealing with overcrowding because of a lack of bed space at the ADC. He added that more beds would likely mean more ADC felons being kept at the jail.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Memorial Day event to help veterans suffering with PTSD

    Memorial Day event to help veterans suffering with PTSD

    Sunday, May 27 2018 4:58 PM EDT2018-05-27 20:58:44 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 5:32 PM EDT2018-05-27 21:32:27 GMT
    SPC. Steven Tyler Redmon served his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Darrin Moore)SPC. Steven Tyler Redmon served his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Darrin Moore)
    SPC. Steven Tyler Redmon served his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Darrin Moore)SPC. Steven Tyler Redmon served his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Darrin Moore)

    SPC. Steven Tyler Redmon would have turned 26 years old on May 28, 2018. His mother will pass out cupcakes at the fifth annual memorial roping event to remember him. The benefit raises money to provide for mental health counseling at the ASU Beck PRIDE Center for America's Wounded Veterans. 

    SPC. Steven Tyler Redmon would have turned 26 years old on May 28, 2018. His mother will pass out cupcakes at the fifth annual memorial roping event to remember him. The benefit raises money to provide for mental health counseling at the ASU Beck PRIDE Center for America's Wounded Veterans. 

  • Memphis organization makes reading food menus easier for the visually impaired

    Memphis organization makes reading food menus easier for the visually impaired

    Sunday, May 27 2018 2:34 PM EDT2018-05-27 18:34:13 GMT
    (Source: WMC Action News 5)(Source: WMC Action News 5)

    Memphis is a city where food is major ingredient of the culture. 

    Memphis is a city where food is major ingredient of the culture. 

  • "End of the line" for Jonesboro paraprofessional announcing retirement

    "End of the line" for Jonesboro paraprofessional announcing retirement

    Saturday, May 26 2018 4:58 PM EDT2018-05-26 20:58:36 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 1:04 PM EDT2018-05-27 17:04:22 GMT
    Willene Downs working the car-rider line at VPA Magnet School. (Source: KAIT-TV)Willene Downs working the car-rider line at VPA Magnet School. (Source: KAIT-TV)

    Willene Downs leaves behind a legacy of laughter, hugs on the playground, "sparkly hair" and bold instruction for the car rider lines.

    Willene Downs leaves behind a legacy of laughter, hugs on the playground, "sparkly hair" and bold instruction for the car rider lines.

Powered by Frankly