SEBASTIAN COUNTY (KFSM) -- The Arkansas prison system reached its highest number of inmates Tuesday (August 11), at 18,971, according to the Arkansas Department of Correction.
Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said the overcrowding has created a problem that is spreading to jails across the state.
"It is a statewide crisis that all these sheriffs are dealing with on a daily basis," he said.
The maximum capacity for inmates at the Sebastian County Detention Center is 356. As of Thursday (August 13), there were 445 inmates in the jail, and 171 of them are state prisoners. The sheriff said every bed in the jail is being used.
"We have to actually get mattresses to put on the floor at times because we are so overcrowded," Hollenbeck said.
The Arkansas Sheriff's Association recently met with the Arkansas County Judges Association, and Hollenbeck said they are getting ready to make a suggestion.
"What we are doing is recommend to the Department of Correction that we have a short-term solution of removing at least 1,000 prisoners from these county jails," he said. "There are bordering states such as Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas that are willing, right now, to take prisoners off our hands, even at a cheaper rate than what the state is paying us."
He said they will be presenting the idea within the next month, adding that it is not the first time they have brought it up.
"We are going to reiterate exactly what we have said for the last several years," Hollenbeck said.
Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown said his detention center has a capacity of 88 inmates, and right now, 28 of the inmates in the jail are state prisoners. However, he said there is a total of 53 state prisoners his office is responsible for.