Arkansas county hopes to save money after jail reopens - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Arkansas county hopes to save money after jail reopens

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LITTLE RIVER CO., AR (KSLA) -

For the past couple of years, Little River County in Arkansas has had a big problem because its jail was shut down by the state.

But, despite being short on funds, the county has found a way to reopen the doors of the jail.

"It was in pretty bad shape," says Matt Workman, contractor.

That's how contractors describe the condition of the old jail as they began remodeling the facility.

"We will potentially be a 2013 jail in the inside and a 1974 jail on the outside," says Little River County Judge Clayton Castleman.

The county had to close the jail in 2010 when it failed to meet state standards. In 2009, residents voted against a tax increase that would have funded a new jail. Since then, the county has taken its prisoners to other county jails for holding.

"We have a contract with Sevier County right now, so we are looking at a 72-mile round trip," says Ashdown Police Chief Daryl Crouch.

Castleman says it costs the county about $500,000 a year just to house inmates outside the county.

In 2012, more than $1.6 million was budgeted to outsource prisoners, which includes transportation and medical care for the inmates.

Castleman says the jail remodeling will cost $1.2 million, and they are borrowing $600,000 of the remodeling cost.

"Economically, it is going to save us some money in the long run, plus we are creating the county seven new jobs," Castleman says.

There will be room for 23 male prisoners, but females and juveniles will continue to be transferred.

Work on the jail should be completed in March 2013.

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