FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The Washington County Jail has an overcrowding crisis, according to multiple officials, including Sheriff Tim Helder. The full quorum court was presented a couple resolutions intended to give helpful options.
The county has contracts with federal and state law enforcement to accept inmates. They earn revenue from each—$30 for state and $62 for federal. Two separate resolutions were put on Thursday’s agenda, both to discuss eliminating those contracts with the intent to cut down on the inmate population.
Wednesday night, the population was 743 with 81 sleeping on the floor, said Kelly Cantrell, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.
“There are individuals that’re unsafe in our community, and they need to be in jail,” said Sarah Moore, a community activist who supports the resolutions. “We want space for that. Also, judges should have the authority and power to sentence people if they think somebody needs a couple of days in jail.”
A significant portion of the people held under state and federal contracts are locals whose court proceedings will take place in Washington County, Helder said.
Resolutions are non-binding. They are essentially formal recommendations that’ll be given to Helder, who has the ultimate decision.