JONESBORO, Ark. – A registered sex offender with a non-updated address, a suspended license, four failure to appear warrants was cited and released after a traffic stop Monday morning because the jail was full.
The intersection of Richmond and Rains in Jonesboro was where the traffic violation happened, an incident report with JPD said. Just after midnight Monday morning, Officer Bryan Davis noticed a Hyundai Sonota fail to come to a complete stop. After it rolled through the intersection, the officer began the traffic stop. At Nettleton and Country Club, the officer made contact with Bruce Jones, 49, of Jonesboro.
Dispatch informed the officer Jones had several failure to appear warrants, was a registered sex offender and had a suspended license, the police report said. His address was listed as 950 West Cherry Avenue but he advised he lived at 421 Richmond.
This would normally result in an arrest but the jail was at capacity. Jones was cited for registered offender/incorrect permanent address on ID card, four failure to appear warrants, running a stop sign, driving with a suspended or revoked license.
The report then said the man was released.
Several recent reports have indicated suspects who would normally be incarcerated were instead released. The Craighead County Detention Center, where Jonesboro inmates are housed, falls under the purview of Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd. He spoke to NEA Report on Tuesday and said the biggest reason this happened, in short, was because the jail is 27 years old and needs to be upgraded – or replaced.
“We have expanded it but unfortunately, our growth population and our crime population has grown over the past 27 years and we’re at a point to where the jail can easily get to capacity,” Boyd said.
Crime becomes more prevalent during this time of year, Boyd said, because of a number of reasons. With it being hot, people are cooped up inside with each other more and domestic disturbances go up. Days get longer, which he said contributes, along with it being more of a “party time season” than the fall or winter.
“People get out and tend to drink more,” Boyd said. “There’s always an uptick in arrests this time of year.”
Yet another factor comes from the recent arrest roundup known as Operation Stamp Em. Boyd said that put more felony arrests in the jail than usual and felonies are what fills the jail to capacity.
Under law, the sheriff said he must house felony arrests in the jail but he is not obligated to hold misdemeanors. Even when full, the sheriff said he must keep some emergency beds available for felons that come in.
The jail has a “perfect” capacity of 400, if each of the separated populations were filled. Since that never happens, the sheriff said, they begin to feel strain at 360.
Populations must be separated based on status, including groups for felon status male, misdemeanor status male, special needs male inmates, female felony and misdemeanor status inmates and a separate juvenile facility. The juvenile facility houses 62.
The last expansion was in 2007, when 14 beds were added to the booking area. The Craighead County Quroum Court approved the move in a $1.2 million expansion.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the jail did once again have space available for new inmates, the sheriff said.
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