Lawrence County interested in housing a new state prison

Jul 28, 2014

The Arkansas Board of Corrections is taking requests for communities that would be interested in hosting a new 1,000 bed maximum security state prison.  The Arkansas Department of Correction has opened a 90-day window in which communities can submit proposals for the 100-million dollar facility.  The board’s design committee tells the Associated Press they are recommending the new prison house the most difficult inmates in the state, with extra space that would be used for 200 single-cell isolation units.  The ideal site would reportedly have at least 400 acres to build on, as well as being close to an airport and higher-educational institutions.  Officials in Lawrence County say they are extremely interested in offer and are hoping the state would consider Walnut Ridge.  County Judge Dale Freeman tells The Jonesboro Sun he wants to pursue the idea, because he says the county might be able to work out a deal to house local prisoners at a state facility.  Lawrence County’s jail is overcrowded and may be shut down by the state due to the condition of the aging jail.  Freeman says Walnut Ridge is perfect because of its airport and its proximity to Williams Baptist College and Black River Technical College.  The state hopes to have a community selected and a plan formed before the next legislative session in January.