Benton County officials look for solutions to overcrowding in jail

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Officials are working together to address overcrowding in the Benton County Jail.

Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie is the chairman of the Benton County Criminal Justice Coordination Committee. He said right now, the jail is on track to need up to 2,000 jail beds within the next 15 years.

While the backlog in the jail is due to a number of reasons, Christie said one of the main ones is inmates coming right back after they are released.

“We’re looking at, ‘What are the drivers behind people going to jail and why do we have some repeat offenders?'”

Christie said this could mean implementing more programs to keep them from coming back again.

He also believes there are a lack of resources for inmates struggling with things like behavioral health issues.

“We need to get on top of this right now but we need to stay with it for a long, long time.”

Christie said the committee was formed last year to address the issue but is now committed to the next 20 years to make sure they are finding long-term solutions.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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