Justice Bridge connects inmates with county judge

Local News

Hempstead County is joining other counties across Arkansas in improving communication between prison inmates and the county judicial system. 

It’s called the Justice Bridge program, a teleconferencing system installed in each prison in Arkansas, and now in the sheriff’s office, jail and circuit court rooms in Hempstead County. 

“It’s just gonna be a cost savings, a money savings, a time savings deal that we have here,” said James Singleton, Hempstead County Sheriff. 
Instead of an officer having to bring an inmate from state prison to physically appear in court, the judge can speak to the inmate face-to-face, while miles apart. 
“They remain in a secure facility and not out, you know, where they could get out into the public if God forbid, something should happen,” said Singleton.
The sheriff said the jail and sheriff’s office budgets were reduced by more than $200,000 this year. This program will not only save the costs of transporting state prisoners, but also help reduce risks involved in bringing county jail inmates to the courtroom. 
“It’ll reduce contraband coming back and forth from the jail, it’ll reduce the risk of someone trying to escape, because they’ll never leave the confines of the jail to have their first appearance,” said Singleton.
The Justice Bridge program is offered through the Association of Arkansas Counties Risk Management Fund. 
In our area, Miller, Howard and Nevada counties have not yet implemented this program. 

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