New Garland County jail solves overcrowding

The following story was reported by THV11 out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accurate Controls designed and installed the security automation system for this facility. April 15, 2015


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) – After four years of discussing the jail overcrowding issue, THV11 has the first look into the new Hot Springs Detention Center.

The only jail currently in Hot Springs was built in 1986, almost three decades ago. The initial jail had space for 88 beds. Their new capacity is 200.

According to Garland County Deputies, they have had to add double and triple bunk beds to have enough space.

“They’re kind of mini-housing units, in a housing unit,” said Captain Ronnie Branstetter with the Garland County Sheriff’s Department.

He said that they plan on housing 346 inmates. They are dividing the groups in eight sub-houses depending on a classification related to issues such disciplinary action and medical need. This type of separation helps deputies have more control over the inmates.

A facility with 24-hour direct surveillance from the inside of the sub-house is a first in Arkansas. In the new facility, a deputy will monitor the 64 inmates inside each subdivision 24 hours a day. In comparison to the old facility, which only had 30 cameras, the new detention center will have 270. All of the cameras will be digital with the capability of zooming into the shot.

“They’ll know what’s going on. They’re able to head off any problems, before they actually even happen,” said Branstetter

The facility will also have classes offering GED certification, drug and alcohol counseling and anger management. “We try to offer all of the services,” Branstetter added. “We have to provide them…we try to offer those within the housing units.”

He said that they made the decision after hearing concerns from the community. “The voters of Garland County made it very clear, they want people to be released hopefully better than what they were when they came in.”

The holding facility will be for all county agencies. They expect to start training staff in the facility by the end of May.

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