Little River County will get a new jail

ASHDOWN, Ark. - A new sales tax will soon go into effect in Little River County, Arkansas to pay for building and operating a new jail.

Voters approved a bond on Tuesday to finance the $8 million facility.

Little River County Judge Mike Cranford said he's pleased with the election results, but there's still a lot paper work to complete before construction starts.

Design plans for the new facility include a kitchen, laundry facility, medical room and segregation rooms. None of these additions are available in the current jail.

Cranford said the new kitchen alone will save the county about $25,000. Currently, the local hospital provides food service to the jail. Cranford believes the new jail will not only be a cost savings, but will serve the county's future needs.

"We won't be spending as much money elsewhere. Jails are not money makers. They never have been and never will be," Cranford said. "However, the money we spend will be spent in Little River County now. So it benefits our community even more."

The county is considering four different locations for the new jail. The new tax will go into effect Jan. 1. Construction is expected to begin in August 2020.

The current jail only holds a maximum of 24 inmates. The limited space has resulted in housing and transporting inmates to other facilities, which has meant higher costs to the county. The new jail facility will house 60 to 80 inmates, Cranford said.

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