Washington County

Courtesy / Washington County Sheriff's Office

Last week, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder announced the suspension of the work release program at the detention center, which allowed inmates to do work in the community through city and county governments and various nonprofits. While Helder says the decision may be unpopular, he needs short-term solutions to manage the overcrowding at the jail.

J. Froelich / KUAF

The Washington County Quorum Court's County Services Committee voted Tuesday to move forward on securing funds for a new $8.5 million emergency communications system. The current system is obsolete and at risk for failure, says John Luther, county emergency services director.

Washington County has hired an ombudsman for a pilot project as part of an effort to find alternative ways to remedy the overcrowding at the detention center aside from a proposed $38 million expansion. The man contracted for the job is not new to it. Stan Adelman was ombudsman in 2000 when the jail expanded from its old location to its current one.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

The Northwest Arkansas Crisis Stabilization Unit opened in Fayetteville Friday, making it the third CSU to open as part of a pilot program funded by the state legislature in 2017. The 16-bed facility will give law enforcement officers in Washington, Benton, Madison and Carroll Counties an alternative to jail when encountering people with mental health issues. Similar facilities are already up and running in Sebastian and Pulaski Counties.

Courtesy / Washington County Sheriff's Office

The Washington County sheriff has spent the last few months going before the Quorum Court to make his case for a $38 million jail expansion project that would be funded through a new tax, but opposition to the proposal is mounting. Residents and activists say they would like the county to invest in more alternatives to incarceration instead of an expansion.