Little River Co. inmates moved to new facility

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 2:41 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:54 PM CDT
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LITTLE RIVER COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) - Out with the old in with the new. That’s what Little River County leaders were saying on March 17.

Little River County Jail inmates were on the move Thursday night. They knew it was coming, but were still surprised. Just after 7 p.m., around 24 inmates were taken to a different lockup: the new $9 million Little River Detention Center.

Inmates in Little River County, Ark. moved into a new facility Friday, March 17, 2023.
Inmates in Little River County, Ark. moved into a new facility Friday, March 17, 2023.(KSLA)

“I helped build this jail. This is crazy, and here I am doing time,” said one inmate.

When Sheriff Bobby Walraven took office in 2017, the Arkansas Jail Standard Board said the old Little River County Jail did not meet certain standards and informed county leaders the facility would be closed if the deficiencies were not addressed. County voters later passed a tax increase to build the new jail.

“Well, it’s been a long long project. I think the taxpayers will be proud of what we have,” said Sheriff Walraven.

The sheriff says over the past few years, they have paid other counties to hold the overflow of prisoners. Now, he says that money and those inmates will remain in the county. Larry Cowling is Little River County Judge.

“I’m just proud. It’s a good day for our community that we get started on this thing. It is not finished yet, but we are getting a good start,” said Judge Larry Cowling.

The new facility can house up to 86 inmates, including a section for females. The first group of inmates appeared to be pleased with the upgrades in their temporary living arrangements.

“So far so good, you know, the walls smell good, like paint job going on, but hopefully I won’t be here too long, but it is what it is. Everybody don’t do crimes,” said an inmate.