Academy's new location frees up 125 prison beds

ENGLAND, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas prison officials say moving the department's training academy to a former middle school in England will free up 125 more beds for prisoners.

The Arkansas Department of Correction opened its Willis H. Sargent Training Academy earlier this year after previously training its officers at the Tucker Unit. Officials say the old site at Tucker will begin housing inmates in November.

The Legislature has appropriated $6 million to free up 600 prison beds. About 250 inmates will be housed at a satellite building at the Pulaski County jail, while more beds have been opened up at the McPherson, Ouachita River and Tucker units, and at a work-release center in Springdale.

The Board of Corrections is also considering housing up to 15 inmates at the newly built Newton County jail.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.