Pulaski County Jail may close to all but violent offenders

(KATV) The Pulaski County Sheriff is ready to take drastic action and close the jail. A new law requires a revocation hearing before a parole violator can be released. It is causing historic overcrowding in county jails. Fixing one problem created another. Monday, there were 1,298 inmates in the Pulaski County jail that is 88 over capacity.

On average, the Pulaski County jail has been overcrowded every day by more than 26 inmates. Sheriff Doc Holladay says this is not about needing more beds; rather the Arkansas Department of Corrections is using the jail as a holding facility. Monday, they were using 447 beds.

Sheriff Holladay explains, "I would much rather have the bed space than the dollars that the state pays for inmates that they hold for this facility." Plus the state has not reimbursed the county for the majority of their inmates since July. He adds, "It is impacting my food budget, medical budget and overtime budget because we have to ensure that we have adequate staff on duty."

He says the county jail is for local law enforcement arrest not prisoners. They've even ordered more mattresses to put on the floor. "One of the concerns I have is the possibility of outbreak of violence because the number of inmates that are incarcerated here at such a close proximity to each other."

Sheriff Holladay has been preparing police departments for the possible closure. Lt. Sidney Allen with the Little Rock Police Department explains their plan, "They're still going to the jail to get booked, get finger printed, photographed and then we will end up just releasing them on a citation."

Nonviolent offenders are being released early on a case by case basis. If the jail closes, they will make room for violent offenders.

A spokesperson with the Department of Correction says they're looking to do more ankle bracelets and house arrest to free up prison beds.

The Pulaski County jail has closed before because of funding.

Related Channel Seven stories:

October 25: Inmate custody reaching record-high in Arkansas

November 4: Fixing one issue caused another for parole system

May 10: Victim identified in early morning homicide

June 17: Little Rock Mayor asks why accused murderer was allowed out on parole

July: Lawmaker question state's parole system

Aug: New law places stricter hold on parole violators