Almost 30 defendants awaiting a transfer to state prison have been released from the Crawford County Jail and are now “out on the street,” said county prosecutor Marc McCune.
McCune said 28 defendants were released from jail after being sentenced to prison time, while they await transfer to prison. About “98 percent” of those defendants have been convicted of felonies.
“It’s frustrating,” said McCune.
The prosecutor went on to list 75 suspects who are currently being held at the jail. He said any suspects arrested on misdemeanors are being booked and released on signature bonds.
“They will arrest somebody and they’re not even done with the paperwork, and the persons already released because of overcrowding,” McCune told 5NEWS.
McCune said the defendants were released because of overcrowding at the jail. Voters in Crawford County are set to decide whether to approve a three-quarter cent sales tax increase to fund a new jail, after the jail was sanctioned by the state because of overcrowding issues.
The new $20 million jail is set to be built just outside Van Buren city limits on Highway 64, as long as county residents approve of building the new jail in a scheduled public vote, said Crawford County Judge John Hall.
Voters three times before have rejected a tax increase to pay for a new jail.