Mar 22, 2022 - News

Voters could decide fate of a proposed Benton County jail expansion

An illustration of someone cast a ballot into a jail cell.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Voters may be asked to weigh the fate of a proposed Benton County jail expansion this fall.

Why it matters: The jail is overcrowded and typically has 30 to 80 more inmates than it was designed to hold, 5 News reported.

What's happening: County leaders are in the beginning stages of deciding how large an expansion would be and what it would include.

  • Sheriff Shawn Holloway told 5 News he'd like to have a mental health wing, sobering centers and more space for programming, such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Yes, but: While the county does not have cost estimates yet, county leaders know they can't swing it with what's in the budget, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

  • Money for the project will have to come from somewhere else, which could mean asking voters to approve a special tax.

What's next: The Benton County Quorum Court will have to decide by August whether to put the issue on the ballot in the November general election.

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