Salineriverchronicle.com has communicated with State Rep. Jeff Wardlaw by text, in an effort to get answers to several questions relating to the proposed regional prison/jail that Bradley County is considering becoming a participant in. At this time the Bradley County Quorum Court has adopted an ordinance making the County a member of a regional jail commission. There have been questions asked over a several month period as to how the jail will work and the liability, if any for the taxpayers of Bradley County. The answers given have varied greatly.
Rep Wardlaw informed SRC by text that a meeting of some of the county judges of the counties that have expressed an interest, the Governor's office and himself, took place in Little Rock Monday, January 30th to discuss the project. He stated that there were "no clear answers." SRC asked when the public would know and he stated, "she said this week" apparently referring to a member of the Governor's staff.
The following questions have been asked to be clarified:
1. Who will own the jail? The commission or a private company?
2. Who will operate the jail?
3. Will there be any liability to the county, regardless of who owns the facility?
4. If the prison/jail is privately owned, will the commission or individual counties contract with the
5.What would be the length of any contract?
6.Where will the facility be constructed?
7.Will the prison portion of the project house low level sex offenders? This has just recently been
According to past information provided, the four counties looking at taking part are Bradley, Cleveland, Drew and Lincoln. It has been stated that a prison/jail of this type could employee 100 people.
It has been suggested by some county officials that the proposal may increase the Bradley County Sheriff's office budget from some $70,000.00 to $150,000.00 per year in jail cost. Those numbers have not been confirmed and the actual cost will depend on any final decision as to the number of beds the county owns or contracts for. Other counties would be affected depending upon the answers to the same questions. State inmates would be placed in the prison/jail by the state of Arkansas.