Helena Inmates Transported to Other Cities after Jail Closes

Helena Inmates Transported to Other Cities after Jail Closes

The jail in Helena, Arkansas closed last week after years of problems. It could be months before the town has a solution for reopening it.
HELENA, AR (abc24.com) - The jail in Helena, Arkansas just closed last week after years of problems. It could be months before the town has a solution for reopening it.

Helena's sheriff and police departments are now transporting criminals miles away to jails in other cities

"All inmates have been shipped out," says Phillips County Sheriff Neal Byrd. He says the jail's closing was inevitable.

"There was just a deterioration over a period of time. It may have had something to do with overcrowding."

Byrd, who just became sheriff in January, says Helena's jail was built to house 75 people but often held over 110 inmates at a time.

"It's a long term process. We're working on it. We've got to get with the county judge and board. It's a decision that has to be made. It not only affects law enforcement, it affects the community as a whole."

Inmates are now being taken to jails 50 and 60 miles away. It's costly to transport them. The city is also billed for their housing, food and medication.

Byrd hopes to have a long term plan for Helena's future in the next few months. In the meantime, he says sheriff's deputies and local police will work together on transporting inmates.
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