WashCo officials continue attempts to solve jail overcrowding problem


WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA) — In our continuing coverage, we’re following the overcrowding situation at the Washington County jail which is causing over 70 inmates to sleep on the floor each night.

There were a couple motions at Monday’s jail committee meeting aiming to solve this problem; one ending in agreement, the other ending in a deadlock.

Justice of the Peace Sue Madison said the jail committee gave their recommended approval to have an ombudsman ensuring the people in jail aren’t staying there just because they can’t make bail.

The proposed program will evaluate those not convicted yet, and determine if they are a risk to society.

What the Justices of the Peace didn’t agree on was a motion to charge cities a daily fee for the inmates they have in the county jail.

In a three to three vote, the JP’s disagreed on a daily $76 fee.

The argument was; should all cities be paying the same flat rate a day, or per capita?

Madison said, “The more citizens you’re protecting and taking care of, then the more you’re maybe using the jail. So a per capita rate would be better.”

Justice of the Peace Willie Leming disagreed, saying “This right here might not be the answer, but it’ll get the ball rolling and we’ll get something going.”

Leming was referring to the second motion that was ultimately killed.

Madison says while the motion was killed, she doesn’t think it’s dead.

She believes a new proposal will come forward after it’s fine tuned.

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