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Inside look at jail follows complaints

Channel 7 gets a look at cell 306 after four complaints from inmates sharing that cell.

CONWAY (KATV) -

Complaints from inmates inside the old Faulkner county jail prompted the sheriff to open up a cell and give Channel Seven a look inside.

Security and inmate privacy concerns prevented our cameras from being a part of this tour.

We were looking for evidence of mold, insufficient water supply and overcrowding.

Sheriff Tim Ryals leads reporters and several jail and county officials down a hallway and towards an aging maximum-security unit.

This is as far as our camera was allowed to go.

Sheriff Ryals admits the nearly 30 year-old facility he inherited has some problems...especially overcrowding.

"No doubt are we overcrowded,” says Ryals. “We are overcrowded. But so are the majority of the jails across this...probably the nation. I know across the state."

We were able to check out cell 306...the subject of the four complaints we have received.

Problems with running water and shower drainage have been fixed. The ceiling still drips when it rains, but the mold coating the walls, ceilings and vents as described by inmates was not evident.

"I understand their complaints of a mold issue,” says Ryals. “When in actuality, you know, we have discredited that with professionals who have come in and checked to make sure there is not a harmful substance within the jail."

Inmates banged on the windows when we were outside and yelled from their cells when we were inside...wanting to share stories of their discomfort and despair.

Sheriff Ryals is not surprised.

"The environment that they are in is naturally going to be an environment that they don't want to be in...unfortunately,” says Ryals. “I guess because of decisions that they have made in their lives."

We were invited guests. And what do you do before company comes over? You clean up. We realize that cell 306 may look better this week than it did in weeks past. If so, that's great. That is what the inmates wanted.

Sheriff Ryals and the quorum court are working on a plan to improve or replace the aging jail. One million dollars has already been set aside.

Air date: January 31st, 2019

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