Arkansas sheriffs sound alarm on jail overcrowding, repeat offenders

By Marine Glisovic

Sheriffs across the state are sounding the alarm on just how stressed their local county jails are.

Hundreds of state inmates continue to overcrowd county jails as they await transfers to state prisons.

While the state just approved 500 new beds for the North Central Unit prison in Calico Rock, at least two sheriffs KATV spoke with said they have been dealing with overcrowding for years and that many new beds will eventually not be enough.

1,396 state inmates throughout Arkansas are currently occupying county jail beds according to the Arkansas Sheriffs Association. It’s a strain on local resources that continues to be an issue for nearly a decade.

“It's a trickle-down effect from the state level all the way down to us. Maximum security prisons are full," said Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright. "Therefore, it backs up our jails which then doesn't allow us to hold misdemeanors and that in turn starts to affect the quality of life in our communities."

Wright added while opening 500 new beds is welcomed, it's a temporary solution.

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