(January 25, 2017)

North Central Unit, Arkansas Department of Corrections, Calico Rock. Photo/B.Stapleton


by Karen Sherrell
A public meeting was held last November by the Arkansas Department of Corrections North Central Unit, NCU, at Calico Rock.
Prison officials spoke to the residents attending about the various programs at the local facility, such as education, regional maintenance, horse operation, Substance Abuse Education, Canine Unit, garden and forage production, PAL Program, Pre-Release Program, and Paws in Prison Program.
It was reported at the meeting that a potential expansion at the NCU is under consideration, with a plan to house an additional 500 inmates.
The NCU was established in 1990 and employs 179. Described as a medium to minimum security facility, NCU houses, on the average, 840 inmates, or full capacity.
According to Solomon Graves, Public Information Officer and Legislative Liaison with the ADC, in August of 2016, ADC Director Wendy Kelley asked the Board of Corrections for their approval of her to request for funding to expand the North Central Unit at Calico Rock. The Arkansas Board of Corrections is comprised of seven members appointed by the Governor.
The request provided for 576 additional beds at the NCU with an additional 30 Administrative Segregation beds, along with additional Administration and Support Staff offices and programming spaces. The projected size of the expansion is 88,442 sq. ft. and projected cost is $39,283,655.
According to the 2018/19 Capital Projects Request report, eight prison projects throughout the state, including the NCU request, have been submitted to the Board of Corrections, totalling $52,064,199.
In August of 2016, reports stated that the ADC is looking to ease the overcrowding issue in the state’s prison system, with the Board of Corrections asking the governor to approve the expansion of 576 beds at the NCU in Calico Rock.
No projected date of the approval of expansion has been announced.
A report on prison and jail population increases, and specialty courts to ease overcrowding, will be published in next week’s edition.

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