Arrest Warrants Backlogging as Winn Parish Works to Build New Jail

WINNFIELD (KTVE/KARD) -- Each time Winn Parish Sheriff's deputies unlock the doors of their jail, they're walking by halls and 47 cells that have stood since 1962.

But Sheriff Cranford Jordan said crime has changed, inmate counts have gone up and with the jail constantly full, the job of law enforcement is backing up.

"We have several hundred warrants that have accumulated over the years in our files that we're not able to go out and serve those warrants because we don't have room for them," Jordan said. "Our felony warrants, we try to keep those up, but on the misdemeanor or the traffic warrants, sometimes we can't get to all of them."

Jordan said the jail, which sits atop the Winn Parish Courthouse, is a product of another time.

"Back then, the design of the day was to build the jail on top of the courthouse, close to the courtroom," he said.

Now, time is bringing the jail's wear and tear down through the rest of the courthouse.

"The plumbing goes bad. Inmates clog up the drains. Water from the jail comes down in our courtroom," said Jordan.

Jordan told KTVE/KARD an upgrade is coming to a six-acre wooded lot off Thomas Mill Road north of Winnfield: A new 150-cell minimum security jail.

"The land has been purchased and we own the land. The basic plans have been drawn," he said.

Now, the final factor is funding the estimated $10 million jail.

Jordan said they tried getting capital outlay funds from the state.

No dice.

Now, they're turning to a USDA Rural Development Loan.

"It's a 30-year low-interest loan to construct the jail and paid back over 30 years," Jordan said.

According to Jordan, the sheriff's department has already begun meeting with USDA officials.

They hope to break ground on the new jail by the fall.

Jordan said he hopes to move into the new jail by the first or second quarter of 2016.

He said he wants to personally thank the people of Winn Parish for voting in a new tax in Fall 2013 to bring more funding to the sheriff's office and get the ball rolling on the project.

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