Private regional jail passes next step


DREW COUNTY, Ark. – Progress as the state is one step closer to opening its first private prison.

The plan is for the new prison to be a partnership between Drew and Bradley counties. 

The Drew County Quorum Court voted earlier this week on a contract for a new regional jail. 

With the approval, LaSalle Corrections out of Louisiana may begin the next step in the process of building a new, privately owned, lock-up facility.

Drew County Judge Robert Akin has been working on this new concept for years. He says it will retain the county’s tax dollars.

“Since 2013 it would have saved us about $2.3 million, assuming we would have started it then,” Akin said. 

In 2015, our cameras went inside a Louisiana LaSalle Correctional facility. At this point, there is no specific plot of land where the jail will go. 

“They will pick the most feasible location economically for them so they can service us,” Akin said. 

However, some in the community don’t agree. Patrick Fisher says he hopes there is transparency with the private company since the plan is for the facility to hold 500 state inmates and 100 county inmates.

“I think the state needs to handle their business and I think it’ll be run correctly and legally and everything,” Fisher said. 

Construction should be completed within the next two years, if not sooner.

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