Inmates Released Due to Jail Overcrowding

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Repeat non-violent offenders and parolee’s not being held in jail. Some say it’s due jail over crowding problem across the state.

 According to the Arkansas Department of Corrections, parolee’s of non-violent crimes are often given a court date and  released from jail due to over crowding.

Saturday, we look into how these repeat offenders and parolee’s are skipping jail time….

Doing time for committing the crime, that’s the way it’s supposed to go. So how and why are repeat offenders ending up back on the streets?
Washington County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett tells us if someone is arrested on a new felony charge, that person is entitled to a bond.

 “So they get a bond set on that charge, but lots of times in-conjunction with the arrest, parole will place a hold on them,” Durrett said.

In which case he said, the offender is can post a bond, but they won’t be released.

 “Because they’re being held by parole to be able to determine whether or not they’re going to violate they parole,” Durrett explained.

So, that person becomes another body in what some say are already overcrowded jails.

The Washington County Detention Center is a 710 bed facility.
However, because of classification requirements like males and females or felony and misdemeanor inmates not being allowed in the same pods, they often cannot house that many inmates at one time.

So, when the jail starts running out of room, it works with the courts on different options like ankle monitoring and bond reduction.

According to the department of corrections in many cases some are hit with a court date, and released from jail, often due to over crowding issues.

“Even if they place a hold on them, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going back to prison on a parole violation because they’re still entitled to a hearing,” Durrett said.

On the other hand, local legislators said it is costly to house prisoners.

“Another thing we’ve done recently, is start to compensate state’s near us who have extra room to care for prisoners,” Charlie Collins State Representative for District 84 said.

And Representative Collins said there are holes in the system, one’s that if filled would be proactive ahd likely help keep people from becoming repeat offenders.

“I think we need to look at the challenge comprehensively, and that includes, not just what do we do to take care of the jail over crowding issue in the short term, but how do we think about the long term and what we’re doing to people’s records,” Collins said.
 

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