The Arkansas Board of Corrections recently approved the expansion of the North Central Correctional Facility (the Calico Rock Jail), which has been in need of more space for inmates for some time.
The all male facility currently has a total of 550 beds, but usually there are more inmates than there are beds to hold them.
Dina Tyler, spokesperson for the Department of Corrections in Pine Bluff, said the expansion "just makes good sense."
"They need male beds so badly," Tyler said.
She said the plan is to take funds from the retooled MacPherson Facility expansion in Newport for female inmates to fund the expansion of the North Central Correctional Facility, which should cost around $6 million.
Tyler said the Department of Corrections plans to add 100 beds to the facility now and add another 100 as soon as more funds become available and the economic climate seems brighter.
"If all goes as planned and as hoped in a few months, after we get approval, in one to two years we should get the project done," Tyler said.
Now that the expansion has been approved by the Arkansas Board of Corrections, it must be approved by the Arkansas Development Financial Authority before the paperwork can be finalized and ground can be broken on the project.
The expansion will be added on to the existing building. Tyler said existing water and sewer lines were built with an extension in mind when the original building was completed, which should make the expansion easier to complete.
Tyler is very positive about the Calico Rock community in coming together with the project. "The whole area up there has such a wonderful partnership with us. The Calico Rock Facility has been a star for us and we'd like nothing more than to expand it."
She said Calico Rock should be receptive to the 12 jobs the expansion should add to the facility, which currently employs about 174 people. "We've had such a wonderful success with the staff at Calico Rock," Tyler said.