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Miller County leaders say improvement is needed at county jail

(Hawaii News Now/file)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 3:04 PM CDT
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MILLER COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) - Some Miller County leaders say it’s time for improvement at the county jail. Right now, a study is underway to see if there is a need, but the final determination may be up to voters.

Built nearly 20 years ago, the jail at the Miller County Correctional Facility is need of an expansion, at least that’s what Chief Deputy Mark Lewis says.

The facility was built to house around 285 prisoners but according to Lewis they are exceeding that number on a daily basis.

“Because our average daily population now averages around 310, so we have been exceeding maximum capacity for several years,” said Lewis.

Lewis said it is time to begin a study to determine where the county wants to be over the next 20 years. Contact has been made with an architectural and engineering company to do a master plan study for a possible expansion at the jail.

“What we are looking at right now, at minimum 100 additional beds to raise our maximum capacity to about 385,” said Lewis.

Over the years there have been several maintenance projects at the jail but none to add additional beds. According to leaders, it is too early to estimate the cost of an expansion project but they do believe it will be up to voters to make the expansion happen.

Lewis said even though they are overcrowded they will continue to take in more inmates.

“It does not mean that individuals are receiving get out of jail free cards. What that means is we continue to manage our inmate population,” said Lewis.

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