Crawford County Voters To Decide On New Jail Through Sales Tax

Crawford County residents on Tuesday will vote whether to fund a new jail through sales tax money. Officials say a new jail is needed because of overcrowding problems at the Crawford County Detention Center.

Law enforcement in Crawford County hope voters approve the potential $20 million facility.

“It`s a three-quarter cent sales tax increase,” Crawford County Sheriff Rob Brown said. “Half cent to build it, which was set from seven to 10 years maximum, and a quarter of a cent, which will be continuous to operate the facility.”

Crawford County Judge John Hall said this is the fourth time a new jail will be up for vote. Proposals to fund a new jail have been defeated at the polls three times.

“This is an issue we`ve got to deal with, and we have no other funding source,” Hall said.

If approved, the jail would house 300 inmates on U.S. 64 just outside of Van Buren.

“We`ve told them where it`s going to be built,” Brown said, “what it`s going to cost, what we are going to do with the old facility. I don`t think those questions were ever answered in the last elections.”

As voters prepare to hit the polls, some in the area said they are not going to vote for the sales tax increase.

“I’d vote against it. It’s hard economic times right now for everybody,” said Edgar Estes. “We don’t need more taxes.”

Brown said the jail is under probation for overcrowding and insufficient staffing.

“If (the proposal) does not pass, what`s going to happen is all these people that are going to be incarcerated is going to have to be sent somewhere out of county,” Hall said.

Brown remains hopeful the vote will pass.

“They`re looking at breaking ground in March of 2015, and it will take about 18 to 20 months to complete the facility,” Brown said.

8 comments

  • Happy, happy, happy

    If it’s been voted down 3 times, maybe voters are trying to tell Crawford County Quorum Court members something????

  • Ignorant Fools

    I have an idea. Instead of throwing everyone in jail for every little thing, let’s not throw them in jail for every little thing! Too many laws and rules around here. Too many cops. I get tired of cops riding my bumper and doing what they want. This sales tax situation is getting way out of hand…

    • Concerned citizen

      You might need to reconsider your views on police. If this tax doesn’t pass more criminals will be thrown into the streets with no concern over going to jail for their crimes, I highly doubt you want to live in a “state of anarchy”, but not passing this tax it highly jeopardizes the safety of the county! I would say people who vote against the tax increase are the ignorant ones. The reason it hasn’t been passed yet is because the citizens haven’t been educated enough on how big of a crisis this really is, this year is different and there has been a lot of campaigning to educate the citizens I truly believe it will pass this time around.

      • Bob Gnarly

        Perhaps you should ask the families of Joseph Erin Hamely (murdered by ASP Larry P. Norman, currently receiving full early retirement from the ASP) and James Ahern (murdered by Officer Coleman ‘Duke’ Brackney, current police chief of Sulphur Springs) about their “views on police”.

        Authority minus accountability equals not respectable.

        On the other hand, I guess you could say that these officers did their part to minimize jail population.

  • soonerfan

    It is a shame we need bigger jails. Make the punishment bad enough no one will want to be there. Jails and Prisons are full because they have it to easy there. Judge Parker didn’t need bigger jails.

  • Rick

    It is a shame funds are wrongfully used.Crawford county needs new government from top tp bottom.maybe a three year okd could do a better job.

  • Bob Gnarly

    A full jail is operating at maximum profit. When the jail is not large enough then they feel the need to expand it in order to increase profits. The bigger the jail the greater will be the effort to fill it up.

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