Arkansas panel approves 20-year contract for private jail

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PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — A state panel has approved a 20-year contract to house as many as 500 state inmates at a privately run jail facility in southeast Arkansas.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the state Board of Corrections on Thursday approved the plan to contract with Drew and Bradley to house inmates at the facility, which will be operated by Louisiana-based LaSalle Corrections.

The board’s chairman presented the contract as an opportunity to move more than 300 state inmates at a privately run jail in Texas back to Arkansas, while also relieving some bed space at state prisons.

The counties will contract with LaSalle. The counties have sought to contract with a private provider to find space to house local offenders awaiting trial.

No private adult lockups have operated in Arkansas since 2001.

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