WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A plan to use American Rescue Plan funds to help fund a jail expansion is now on pause in Washington County.

A recent ruling from the Department of Treasury found that ARP funds aren’t eligible to be used for a jail expansion. County officials are currently reviewing those rules.

Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder has been asking the county to expand the jail because of overcrowding issues.

“How do we address the overcrowding issue, well its very simple in my mind, that we expand in a lot of different ways, our services and also our bed space, its got to happen,” Helder said.

While Sarah Moore, co-founder of Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition, said the ARP funds should be used for other things like social spending.

“A plan put in place to do architectural services to expand the jail and to incarcerate more individuals, which won’t help the conditions that folks are in that are struggling with needing recovery services,” Moore said.

Sheriff Helder said he applauds the efforts of long term plans of organizations like Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition, but said an expansion will help address overcrowding now.