New Detention Center for White County

September 20, 2006 -- Posted at 6:30 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- White County is the home the newest detention center in Region 8.  The new facility can house hundreds of prisoners, which will lessen the strain put on the small jail currently in use.

This is the first project in the state to be funded through Amendment 78 of the Arkansas Constitution.

"We're probably the first county in the state that has went with the short-term financing for this big of a project, with $15,200,000, so this is financed by our local banks and the county," said County Judge Bob Parish.

White County, like many other counties across the state, has experienced prison overcrowding.   While this facility will help White County, it won't be used to help house other prisoners.

The new detention center can house 330 prisoners, and is six times the size of their current facility.  White County Sheriff Pat Garrett said it won't be long until this new jail is full.

"We will be at our maximum capacity within 180 days if not sooner," said Garrett.

One reason for the surplus of prisoners is there are many warrants in White County that can be served, but without the capacity to hold the extra prisoners, officials have put off arresting them.  Now, with this added space, arresting the offenders won't be a problem.

Building this facility has been in the works since Garrett first took office in 2001.