The Arkansas Department Of Corrections and state lawmakers are currently weighing options to ease the overcrowding in state prisons and local county jails. For more than a year now an average of 2500 ADC inmates have been on what is called a “waiting list” which means they are held in local county jails awaiting a bed in the Department of Corrections. Often these backlogs of inmates causes overcrowding in the local jails and creates extra expenses for the county. Lawrence County is no exception, on average the county holds 10 to 15 inmates waiting to be transferred to the Department of Corrections.

Proposals from ADC include using private facilities, abandoned school buildings and expanding alternative sentencing to ease the overcrowding. A 1,000 bed facility has been proposed and prison officials are expected to ask lawmakers for the funding for this future project. In our area, proposals to use a former nursing home in Randolph County to house “trustee” inmates is in the works.

One idea for funding this expansion of the Department Of Corrections is to increase the decal fee on your vehicle tags. This along with proposed locations for expansions will be presented to lawmakers in a detailed report on the overcrowding and options to correct this problem.