PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - Greene County jail profits skyrocketed after the administration decided to house state and federal prisoners.
Greene County Sheriff Steve Franks said the jail is the fifth largest in the state, and they’re filling it up.
In 2018, the jail made $464,661 in housing revenue.
That number jumped dramatically in 2019, with the jail making more than $2.1 million in housing revenue.
The nearly 500-bed facility currently houses 100 federal and 57 state inmates.
The money adds up quickly when the jails houses these inmates:
- Federal inmates $75/day
- State inmates $30/day
The GCSO has a contract with the U.S. Marshal’s Service that also pays for mileage to transport or pick up the federal inmates.
“If they’re out there going to pay it, I want to make it be able to not ask the county for any more money to run this jail,” Sheriff Franks said. “That’s what I want to do.”
Taxpayers took it to vote on passing the sales tax increase to build the jail in 2011.
That tax is still in effect, according to Sheriff Franks. However, he says he’s looking to remove the tax.
He said the plan is to look at what the county still owes to pay off the jail, pay it, and then remove the tax altogether.
Sheriff Franks said there are also other projects in the works for the jail.
A work release program will allow non-violent inmates to keep their job, go to work, and then return to jail.
The program will be housed in the older portion of the jail that’s currently under construction. This project is costing $160,000 and the money used for the project is being pulled from the $2.1 million saved.
Also, Sheriff Franks wants to add a GED program for inmates.
He says the work release program will take priority but is working on making all of these efforts a reality.