Maintaining the Benton County Jail in working order is an on-going challenge. Knowing that the aging and reconfigured facility will require repairs, the Sheriff's Office proactively budgets for major maintenance, a process that involves balancing decisions about funding against the types of repairs to authorize.
When the Benton County Jail opened its doors in 1976 it had 27 single-occupancy cells, 3 interview rooms, a kitchen, and two multi-purpose rooms.
Today, the multi-purpose rooms and kitchen are gone. They were removed to make room for expanding cell space. A single, small day room replaced the two multi-purpose rooms and instead of a kitchen, a freezer was moved into the courtyard. Pre-packaged meals are stored in the freezer and meals are prepped on a counter where laundry use to be sorted.
These changes were made to address the community's public safety needs and to maximize the facility's available space.
Because the Jail is a 24/7 operation, there is constant wear-and-tear on the facility that must be addressed. For example, locks in the Jail are frequently in need of repair, a job made more difficult because the cell door locks are original equipment. It is hard to find replacement parts.
Another ongoing challenge is the plumbing. The plumbing system regularly gets backed up, sometimes from normal use and sometimes from inmates trying to cause problems by flushing clothing or other objects down the toilets. Repairs can be difficult because the plumbing is set in concrete.
Despite these challenges, Jail staff take pride in running a safe and secure facility and keeping it clean, organized, and as efficient as possible.
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