Stone County Rehabilitation and Detention Center
WHY DO WE NEED A NEW JAIL?
Jails are a key responsibility of the county government and are mandated by the Arkansas constitution (unlike cities). Their primary purpose is to hold accused law violators who cannot post bond to ensure their appearance at trial. Jails also hold convicts of lesser offenses until they complete their court-ordered sanction. Opportunities also exist for rehabilitation and reintegration purposes.
Jails are unique: they operate 365 days a year 24 hours a day and are staff intensive creating a high degree of wear on the facility. Jails are specialized and expensive to build. The jail is responsible for and in total control of inmate’s health, welfare, and safety—mandated constitutional requirements. Additionally, in 2014, Arkansas adopted new standards for criminal detention centers due to the increased exposure to liability (lawsuits). Stone County jail is vulnerable in several areas and does not meet standards.
Stone County is not alone. Due to the new jail standards, many Arkansas counties are impacted. (data good as of 5 Dec 2019)
● 2 Counties are now in 24hr operations (Madison, Bradley)
● 1 County has no jail (Phillips)
● 8 Detention centers have closed (mostly cities)
● 10 Jails were recently built (mostly county jails)
● 7 City jails were modified to 24 hr facilities
● 12 Jails are under construction
● 7 County jails were expanded or in process of expansion.
WHY DIDN’T THE JAIL GO TO A 24hr HOLDING FACILITY AFTER THE LAST PROPOSAL FAILED?
The citizens of Stone County and elected state officials inundated the Criminal Detention Facilities Review office with petitions to delay until another proposal could pass. The Jail Steering Committee (sub-committee of the Quorum Court) put together an improvement plan to correct space, staffing and operational deficiencies. The Stone County jail corrected the staffing issues, built a multi-purpose room for rehab programs, and updated their operational procedures—but still fails facility standards. As a result, the Criminal Detention Facilities Review Committee accepted the plan and gave Stone County a year extension to present a plan funded by the voters of Stone County (ballot voting on Mar 3 with early voting 17 Feb 2020). IF NOT, Stone County will lose the license to hold inmates long term (beyond 24hrs). Costs and impact will be discussed later.
Over the next few weeks, supporters of the new Stone County Rehabilitation and Detention Center will submit articles to the paper and post them on-line answering voter’s questions.
WE LISTENED: New proposal is half the cost to build, one-third payoff time, half the cost to run. PLEASE VOTE: “YES” for construction bond and operations/maintenance tax, Feb 17 – Mar 3.
This article derived data from the U.S. Dept of Justice, Jail Resource Issues document and other sources.
--this article paid for by supporters of the new jail