The state of Arkansas does not have any private prisons at the moment. However, it has multiple regional facilities, county jails, and detention centers. Arkansas operated private prisons between 1998 to 2001.
These private prisons were run by Wackenhut Corrections Corporations, now known as the Geo Groups. But the state soon terminated its contract with the private institutions due to allegations of abuse and a lack of basic facilities for the inmates.
Also the state of Arkansas has also been famous for operating one of the most corrupt prison systems.
Overview Of Prisons In Arkansas
The Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) runs 20 state prisons as well as a variety of community-based facilities, including halfway homes and work release centers. The Arkansas Department of Community Correction also contracts with the ADC to manage five regional prisons.
Moreover, Arkansas state prisons are categorized into four security levels: minimal, medium, maximum, and supermax. And the Arkansas Department of Corrections is in charge of providing care and services to all convicts in the state's prison system.
These services include medical care, mental health care, dental care, drug addiction treatment, education, vocational training, and religious services.
For around three and a half years in the late 1990s, Arkansas operated two private prisons: the Grimes Unit and the McPherson Unit. These private prisons were managed by Wackenhut Corrections Corporation in Newport.
After Wackenhut declined to extend its contract, the California Correction Department took over the two units in 2001. The Grimes Unit housed young male criminals, while the McPherson Unit housed female offenders. Both facilities have 600 bedrooms and were built in 1998.
Why Does Arkansas Not Have Private Prisons?
A History Of Difficulties With Private Prisons:
The state of Arkansas's earlier experience with private prisons was hampered by a number of issues. '
These issues include charges of inmate abuse and neglect. As a result, the state terminated the contracts with the private organizations in charge of the jails.
Concerns Regarding Cost Savings:
Initially, it was assumed that private facilities are less expensive and help the state save more money. However, Studies have revealed that private jails do not save the state money. In fact, operating private jails can be much more expensive than state-run facilities.
Fears Concerning Public Safety:
Another reason the state of Arkansas does not consider private prison is the fear of public safety. There are fears that private prisons, in order to save money, may cut shortcuts on security and safety. As a result, it might raise the likelihood of escapes, violence, and other problems.
Opposition From Criminal Justice Reform Advocates:
Private prisons, according to advocates for criminal justice reform, are a kind of mass imprisonment that does not address the underlying causes of crime. They further contend that private prisons might reduce the quality of treatment provided to convicts.
Arkansas has decided not to employ private prisons as a consequence of these concerns. The state's current aim is to keep its prisons operating via the state Department of Corrections.
Arkansas Private Prison Contract
The Arkansas Legislative Council has approved a plan for two Arkansas counties to contract a private company in order to build a 600-bed private prison facility.
In addition, the private prison will accommodate 500 inmates while the remaining will be filled up by convicts who have been arrested and awaiting trials in Bradley and Drew Counties.
Officials in both counties inked a contract with Louisiana-based LaSalle Corrections in November 2019 that called for the private business to pay for the jail's construction and management. The building was supposed to open on January 1, 2022, but the doors are still closed, and it doesn't look like that will change amytime soon.
However, the Arkansas Department of Corrections may save money on transportation and security by using regional facilities to accommodate offenders from various counties. They also give convicts a more centralized place for services, including education, vocational training, and substance addiction treatment.
Regional Jail Facility In Arkansas
East Arkansas Regional Unit
East Arkansas Regional Unit, also known as Brickeys, has the capacity to accommodate 1624 inmates.
The facility houses male convicts from Arkansas, Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Drew, Greene, Lee, Phillips, and St. Francis. The facility offers convicts at Brickley various educational classes, vocational training, and substance abuse treatment.
Delta Regional Unit
Delta Regional Unit can accommodate 599 male offenders. It is home to inmates from Chicot, Clay, Craighead, Desha, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Mississippi.
The facility offers a basic education program and provides substance abuse educational programs for inmates incarcerated for drug-related abuses.
Texarkana Regional Correctional Center
The Texarkana Regional Correctional Center has the capacity to house 128 both male and female convicts. It can accommodate convicts from Arkansas, Bowie, Miller, and Red River counties. It provides convicts with the option to participate in a work release program.
Work release permits inmates to work during the day in the surrounding community and return to the institution at the end of the day. This program is not available to all criminals, and they must satisfy specific criteria to be eligible for this program.
Craighead County Regional Jail
Craighead County Regional Jail is located in Jonesboro, Arkansas. It has a capacity to accommodate 400 inmates and houses convicts from Craighead, Clay, Greene, and Jackson counties.
In addition, the Craighead County Juvenile Detention Centre offers an education program that is overseen by the Jonesboro Public School system.
Pulaski Country Regional Detention Facility
Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility is situated in Little Rock, Arkansas. It has a capacity of 1,200 inmates and houses inmates from Pulaski, Saline, Grant, Faulkner, and Lonoke counties.
This facility is home to inmates who are incarcerated for crimes committed against Arkansas federal and state laws.
South Central Regional Jail
South Central Regional Jail is located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It has a capacity of 1,000 inmates and houses inmates from Jefferson, Lincoln, Drew, Chicot, and Desha counties.
This facility has been operational since 1993. Also, it is Arkansas’s only Forensic Evaluation Unit.
West Central Regional Jail
West Central Regional Jail is located in Wynne, Arkansas. The facility has the capacity to house 500 inmates. Moreover, it accommodates inmates from Cross, Crittenden, St. Francis, and Poinsett counties.
The facility provides educational and vocational programs for inmates in order to reintegrate them into society.
White County Regional Jail
White County Regional Jail is located in Searcy, Arkansas. It has a capacity of 400 inmates and houses inmates from White, Conway, Faulkner, and Van Buren counties.
It also provides multiple opportunities to inmates, including Adult basic education, GED, computer programs, final and anger management, and substance abuse treatment.