50 Additional Prison Beds Open, State Says More To Follow

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Department of Correction opened fifty prison beds Monday as part of a plan to relieve county jail overcrowding.

The Arkansas legislature approved $6 million to open 600 beds during a special session three weeks ago.

The first 50 inmates arrived at a minimum security center on W. 33rd street in Little Rock from facilities around the state.

Shea Wilson with ADC says the plan is to use the facility through July 2015.

"We're starting with 50 today, and will send another 50 over Wednesday," Wilson says. "Our goal is to work up to 200, but we'd also like to get it to 250 if possible."

The Pulaski County Detention Center remained closed Monday to many non-violent offenders even after the transfer.

Lt. Carl Minden says the initial 50 inmates did not relieve crowding at its facility.

"We expect the state to take some of our over 400 state inmates later this week," Minden says. "That could get us closer to reopening."

While the jail is closed, crimes like car theft and burglary result in processing of offenders but then they are released.

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