JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ark. — The Jefferson County Sheriff says he is running low on funds, and unable to adequately take care of detainees inside the jail as a result.
“It’s hard for me to do my constitutional duty without having sufficient appropriate funding to do that,” said Sheriff Lafayette Woods.”We are required by jail standards to feed detainees three times a day.”
Woods said he does not have enough money in the budget he was given to continue feeding detainees and providing necessary things like medicine and drugs. He would like to request more from the county.
“Just because it is available appropriation does not mean we give you that,” said County Judge Gerald Robinson.
Woods blames Robinson and the Quorum Court for not providing enough money or allowing him to speak before the court members and request more funds.
“I can’t keep people in my facility if I don’t have the appropriate sufficient funding to pay vendors for food,” Woods said.
“It’s no secret that he and I do not get along,” Woods said.
Robinson said it is not up to him, and Woods will have to find another avenue.
“If you’re going to throw stones, be ready,” Robinson said.
Robinson said the budget was originally agreed upon by everyone, including the Sheriff. Woods said otherwise.
“That’s the reason the lawsuit exists… over the budget that was passed.,” Woods said.
Woods has filed a lawsuit through his attorney against Robinson and the quorum court over the lack of funding that was provided. He said he knew the original amount would not be enough, but it was all he was given.
“He has three departments,” Robinson said. “The Sheriff’s Office, the jail, and juvenile detention. Each one has their own budget, so each one must live within their own budgets.”
Robinson said Woods has used money from the juvenile detention for the adult jail, and then had to request more money for the juvenile detention center. As a result, there is no money to give for the adult jail.
Woods’ attorney said he had no other choice. The sheriff said the funds provided for the juvenile detention and jail were both too low.
“Trust me, he has money within the budget, and he can transfer within the budget if he needs to do that,” Robinson said. “It can be done with a court order.”
Woods said he has had no success speaking before the court. On Monday, his attorney tried bringing the issue up during a public comment period, but Robinson denied the discussion. He asked the attorney to schedule a time to sit down and discuss the matter privately instead.
Woods said at this rate he will not be able to keep people in the jail. Since most cannot be released, they would be transferred to another county jail, which would cost money.
Woods said the jail is currently in the red by $23,000 when it comes to food, and $17,000 for medicine and drugs.