• Sheriff says St. Francis County needs new jail

    By: Jacque Masse


    ST. FRANCIS CO., Ark. - St. Francis County is working on trying to get a new jail to house more inmates.

    Sheriff Bobby May said the county is putting together a proposal that would add a one cent sales tax to help fund the new jail.

    The proposal would go on the ballot, so voters can decide.

    May said the jail has been in St. Francis County for 60 years.

    The current jail doesn’t meet the state jail standards and will shut down next year if there isn’t a new one in place. 

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    “If a county has to take prisoners to other counties across the state, you are talking about financially bankrupting the county because we have to pay for that,” said May.

    The jail used to hold 125 inmates but now it can only hold about 80.

    “We have some cells that we can’t use, they are just gone in terms of electrical plumbing, and all the old plumbing is in the concrete, so it can’t be repaired,” said May. 

    May said because of the lack of space some inmates are released back into the community.

    “When we get into a situation where we can’t hold prisoners what does that do for public safety it diminishes,” said May.

    To fix this problem, the county is working on a proposal for a one cent sales tax that would help pay for a new jail.

    The county is searching for locations to put the possible new jail.

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