ADC holds groundbreaking for new Independence County Corrections Facility

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 5:02 PM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - What was once the White River Juvenile Detention Center in Indendepence County will now hold adult males who have violated their parole.

In a news release, the Arkansas Department of Corrections stated that the former detention center in Batesville was purchased and will invest $13.3 million for expansion and renovations.

The space will be one of two facilities designed for adult males who have violated their parole and will be held in the facility for 90 days.

To commemorate the soon-to-be repurposed location, a groundbreaking was held on Tuesday, with multiple state and local leaders in attendance.

Arkansas Department of Corrections Secretary Joe Profiri, formerly in the Arizona Department of Corrections, is in his fourth month in the department.

He said with the state looking to increase bed space and give some breathing room to county and other state facilities, Independence County was an area that was nearly ready to go.

“The opportunity presented itself based on the infrastructure that was already here and our ability to add quickly with regards to doing that in the short timeframe that we could do that,” Profiri said. “If you will, it was low-hanging fruit in the context of the physical plan and our ability to add beds quickly.”

Independence County won’t be the only Northeast Arkansas county to help relieve some of the pressure.

“You’re going to see very similarly us add beds in Mississippi County at our re-entry center,” Profiri explained.

After the expansion, the new facility will have 162 beds available, which excites County Judge Kevin Jeffery.

“It frees up some space at the county level. We’ve been housing as many as 40 state inmates,” Jeffery said. “If we can make some room there, that will allow our law enforcement community to use the jail as it’s designed.”

The county judge explained that this relieves pressure on the county’s jail and brings jobs to the area.

“State of Arkansas is going to spend a little over $13 million here, which will create jobs in this county and hopefully make our state a safer place, as that’s the end goal.”

Work on the facility is expected to continue through April 2024.