Arrested but not jailed: no room for criminals

PULASKI COUNTY (KATV)--It's now day two that the Pulaski County Jail has been closed. At last count 1,247 inmates occupied the jail, its capacity is 1,210.

While the jail is still accepting violent criminals, many who could be in jail are walking away free.

Unfortunately, officers on the streets are arresting people then minutes later they're letting them go. It's because unless it's a violent crime, every time they call the county jail to receive clearance to book them, they get denied because there is no room.

A day at the office is dangerous territory for Little Rock Police, especially when a person flees, but it's a whole other ball game when overcrowding shuts down the Pulaski County Jail.

As quickly as these men were cuffed, they were un-cuffed.

"Alright what you're receiving is a citation to appear in court, sign it right here on this X, it's not a admission of guilt, it's a promise that you're going to show up the 9th of July at 8:30 in the morning to answer for this charge ok?" said Little Rock Patrolman, Jason Roberts.

One was charged with fleeing, the other had a traffic warrant with a mandatory arrest if fines aren't paid, and while both could have gone to jail they're free once again.

"With the jail being closed, we cite him out for fleeing and give him a court date, and release him back to what he was doing whatever that might of been, he's free to go," added Roberts.

This type of policing happens daily when the jail is closed, as they'll only accept violent offenders.

"When you catch somebody doing something criminal and you wind up giving them a citation and letting them walk on down the street after you've done your job, it's a little disheartening," said Roberts.

Crimes that spike when the Pulaski County Jail is closed are residential and business burglaries as well as breaking and entering. Lieutenant Terry said, it's because the jail starts letting inmates out with minor offenses to make room for violent criminals.