Greene County Jail in Trouble Again - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Paragould, AR - Tiffany Blankenship reports

Greene County Jail in Trouble Again

MAY 17, 2005 - Posted at 4:27 p.m. CDT


PARAGOULD, AR - K8 News has obtained exclusive information from the state office of jail standards about the conditions of the Greene County Jail.

The state's coordinator of jail standards says the inspection report has not yet been published, but agreed to share the information with K8 News.  "We found that the jail is consistently overcrowded, and due to overcrowding, the jail really doesn't have enough staff to administer the jail or to ensure the security of the staff or the inmates," said David Underwood, who says he has briefed county officials.

Although jail administrator Brad Bolar denies receiving a briefing from Underwood, he does admit the jail has serious problems.  "Right now, there's not enough jailers working in certain parts of the jail, which...their safety...if there's not anyone there to back them up, then it can really be serious," said Bolar.

The facility has a designed capacity of 110, and during an initial inspection six months ago, housed 143 prisoners.  The most recent inspection, conducted approximately two weeks ago, reported a jail population of 129 inmates.  Underwood says the inmates were not separated by class, and the kitchen was too small.  He says a volunteer committee made up of local elected officials has decided to give jail officials an additional six months to get the facility in compliance.  Otherwise, the state attorney general will be asked to step in, possibly forcing the jail to close.

"Jails are expensive and they're citizens of that area, so I think they're hoping that the county leadership will step up and say 'Hey, we need to do something,'" added Underwood.

While the county's population base has grown, Underwood says the jail needs to grow with the county.  "You've got a very nice jail that's just too small and it's being well-run, but something needs to be done." 

Bolar responded by saying, "The Greene County Sheriff's Department and detention center has done all they can do at this point, and the rest will be up to the Quorum Court to decide if they want to move forward with an expansion."



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