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Poinsett County officials mull solutions to troubled lockup

Poinsett County officials mull solutions to troubled lockup

July 8th, 2019 by Associated Press in Arkansas News

HARRISBURG, Ark.—Poinsett County Jail Administrator Steve Rorex showed administrators a 500-pound entrance door that previously fell on him, during a recent tour by the county's public safety advisory panel.

"It took all I had to push it off me," he said.

The door to the visitation area is completely gone, Rorex noted.

"The door to the visitation area fell off," he told The Jonesboro Sun. "The door works on a pin system, and the pin system malfunctioned."

Rorex said repairing the issue is not just a simple matter of ordering a part.

"These parts are obsolete. The company went out of business before the jail was completed," he said.

In fact, many components of the Poinsett County Jail are obsolete or malfunctioning.

The Poinsett County Detention Center's current deficiencies date back to the time it was first built, Sheriff Kevin Molder said.

He said everything was obsolete when it was put in, and that he thinks the county can repair the jail for just under $2 million.

The cost of a new jail would cost the county an estimated $16 million.

When the detention center failed certain areas of the state's Jail Standards inspection in May, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration review committee recommended that Poinsett County form an advisory committee to find solutions.

The Poinsett County Public Safety Advisory Panel recently met at the detention center to review issues and look for possible answers along with Jail Standards representative Larry King, who offered his services to the committee.

Poinsett County is not the only county having issues, Molder said. Several counties have increased tax rates to update current facilities or construct new ones.

Poinsett County will hold a special election Aug. 13 to ask county residents to vote for a half-cent sales tax increase.

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