After having Crawford County Detention Center again cited by the state for overcrowding, county officials will meet Thursday night to discuss options.
Members of the Crawford County Jail Committee are meeting Thursday directly following a personnel committee meeting - set for 6:30 p.m. - to hear from Sheriff Ron Brown about options for meeting state requirements.
CCDC was re-evaluated July 11 by a state review panel after being on probation since November 2011, Brown told justices of the peace during the regular July meeting of the quorum court, calling the results "not good."
According to a letter sent to Crawford County Judge John Hall from the review committee, the jail is being cited for chronic overcrowding, short staffing, improper inmate separation, safety due to lack of a self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), inadequate space and an improper medical area.
Though placed on another six-month probation, the letter states that the jail will be re-inspected for updates in three months.
County officials must prepare a written plan to resolve the identified issues to meet state jail standards. If they fail to do so, the panel will ask that the jail be voluntarily closed or will proceed with a lawsuit to close the jail, according to the letter.
A copy of the inspection will be presented at the meeting Thursday, said JP Lloyd Cole, head of the jail committee.
"It’s the same thing we’ve been on probation for, for six years," Cole said.
In November 2011, the state cited the jail for "dangerous and liable conditions" that included overcrowding, inadequate storage and improper segregation.
Cole said Brown has been working to keep the total jail population down by housing inmates in Washington and Sebastian counties, but that overcrowding still exists in certain jail cells because of segregation.
Brown will be on hand Thursday to explain the report and address jail issues, Cole said.
"The bottom line is, he’s going to have to send more people over to Washington County," Cole said.
Brown and Cole also will be giving JPs a "heads up" that the solution includes a need for more money for housing and transportation, Cole said.
Another option is a new jail, but Cole said that is not financially feasible for Crawford County residents right now.
"We know it’s a hard time economically for everybody to ask for a new jail; Crawford County just doesn’t bring as much revenue as Sebastian or Washington and it would be a big burden on the taxpayers," Cole said.
Because of the reluctance of county officials to ask residents for any kind of sales or property tax increase, the money will have to come out of the county’s already limited budget, Cole said.
JPs approved $60,000 at their last meeting to go to the jail for the cost of housing inmates. The cost for housing one inmate each day at Washington County Detention Center is $35, Cole said.