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JP COGER’S WEEKLY WASHINGTON COUNTY WINDOW FOCUSING ON THE NWA COMMUNITY CORRECTION CENTER (CCC) 5/19/24


I did not know the NWA Community Correction Center (“CCC”) was an actual treatment center until I became involved in justice reform in 2019. Then I began to learn and I talked to women in our community whose lives were changed and saved as a result of the treatment, knowledge, and guidance they received while incarcerated there.  I hear regularly and work with groups who volunteer there and are dedicated to helping the women achieve success.


At Thursday’s Quorum Court meeting, County Judge Patrick Deakins gave the court and the public an update on the situation with the CCC a/k/a the Women’s Prison located on College Avenue.  Starting at 23:59 in the video, please listen to what he had to say.  https://www.youtube.com/live/GX4JTIALUTY?si=6Lc6UMmejS6Chg1f

Here are some comments made by CJ Deakins during his “monthly judges report” pertaining to the women’s prison:

  • @ 24:11 “…guys, we’re at an impasse and that’s just all there is to it…we’ve been told there’s no way to facilitate what we, our concerns are from the state standpoint.”

  • @ 24:30 “I’m excited for Sheriff Cantrell to continue to huddle with his leadership team and come up with the best and highest use of that facility.”


As a reminder, here's the letter CJ Deakins sent to the Arkansas Department of Corrections on 3/29/24 regarding termination of our lease agreement with DOC.  Here's the letter the judge sent to all Washington County Justices of the Peace on the same subject.



Just below is the email I received from Lindsay Wallace, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Corrections.  Per Ms. Wallace, the CCC will be discussed by the DOC Board of Corrections meeting in June. There's plenty of time to take action.




WE NEED TO KEEP THE CCC HERE IN OUR COMMUNITY because IT IS AN ACTUAL TREATMENT CENTER where women receive the treatment, support, mentorship, and all they need to break their addiction/jail/criminal justice cycle.  OUR COMMUNITY IS INVESTED IN THE CCC WITH OVER 24 VOLUNTEER GROUPS AND AROUND 400 COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS.


Together, we can make a difference.  Here's the link to contact your elected representatives and other county officials:  Together, we can make a difference.  



LET’S START OUT THIS WEEK WITH THINGS YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR ELECTED WASHINGTON COUNTY OFFICIALS.  Ask them:

  1. If CJ Deakins cancels the lease agreement with the Department of Corrections when their lease term expires 12/31/24, and it becomes a “second county jail,” how much will it cost to renovate the facility and bring it to meet current jail standards?  (Ask your JP, CJ Deakins, Sheriff Cantrell)

  2. Since there are 35 vacant staff positions in the WC Detention Center and seven or eight in the enforcement division, how do you plan to staff the “second county jail” which is now the CCC? (Your JP, CJ Deakins, Sheriff Cantrell)

  3. How much will the annual maintenance and operation for the “second county jail” cost Washington County Taxpayers and how will you pay for that?  How are you certain it won’t require a tax increase? (Your JP, CJ Deakins, Sheriff Cantrell)

  4. Closing the CCC which now houses approximately 120 women will leave at least that many women with no place to go after the CCC closes, so women who are convicted in Washington County and sentenced to DOC will be sitting in the WC Detention Center until a space opens in another woman's unit.  How and what measures are you taking to account for this increase in female detainees?  (Your JP, CJ Deakins, Sheriff Cantrell)

  5. How many people are sleeping on the floor at the WC Detention Center now?  (Sheriff Cantrell)

  6. How many people incarcerated in our WC are “pre-trial” and have not been convicted of a crime, a judicial officer has set their bond, but they are sitting in jail because they can’t afford to buy their freedom?  (Sheriff Cantrell)

  7. How much does it cost WC taxpayers each year to house pre-trial detainees in our jail?  (Sheriff Cantrell)

  8. Do the people incarcerated in the WC Detention Center receive drug and alcohol addiction treatment while they are incarcerated? If so, what does that treatment involve?  (Sheriff Cantrell)

  9. How many people in the WC Detention Center have been incarcerated more than one time? (Sheriff Cantrell)

  10. Why haven’t the criminal justice reforms recommended by the National Center for State Courts in 2020 been implemented? (Everyone!)

  11.  In addition to your county officials, you should also contact Governor Sanders: https://governor.arkansas.gov/online-services/contact-the-governor/  and Department of Corrections Secretary Lindsay Wallace.  Lindsay.Wallace@doc.Arkansas.gov and her Chief of Staff, Wade Hodge Wade.Hodge@doc.arkansas.gov


COUNTY MEETINGS THIS WEEK


🌟The Jobs Evaluation Salary Administration Program (JESAP) meeting scheduled for 5/20/24  - canceled. 

 

🌟WASHINGTON COUNTY ELECTION MEETS TUESDAY, 5/21/24, 9:00 AM, Washington County Road Department Bldg., 2615 Brink Drive, Fayetteville.  In person meeting only. The meeting will be livestreamed here:

Here’s the complete agenda.  It includes 2024 General Election Early Voting and Election Day Voting sites, “Changes for the General Election,” and more.  If you can (especially candidates), please attend this meeting.




COUNTY ZONING PROPOSAL (ORDINANCE, RULES & REGULATIONS)


PLEASE SEND ME ALL YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ABOUT THE NEW ZONING ORDINANCE AND ZONING MAP.


ZONING MAP FOR WASHINGTON COUNTY:  The white parcels would be zoned commercial - these mainly follow along state highways and the interstate.  The blue parcens would be zoned industrial - these include existing dirt mines and quarries…To see the proposed zoning on the interactive map, select “Layer List” from the top menu and click the box for “County Zoning Map 2024.”

To get a copy of the proposed planning ordinances, please check the Planning Department Ordinances and Regulations page, as shown in the image below.

 

Here are the links to the zoning districts webmap draft and the planning ordinances draft (PDF also attached).


 My email is:  ejcoger@gmail.com.  My number is 479-306-9994.  Please call and/or text.


Read it here.  

The county should be holding town hall meetings for the public to give advice and guidance on these plans and maps. When I mentioned this earlier, the judge said he, “...wasn’t listening…@1:16:55 in the video here:   


  COUNTY JOB OPENINGS THIS WEEK (5/19/24)



 🌟 Here’s the link to the current Washington County Job Openings as posted on the HR website: https://www.washingtoncountyar.gov/government/departments-f-z/human-resources/job-postings

 There you’ll be able to complete an online application, see salary ranges and more.  

 _______________________________________________________________





THINGS TO KNOW AND THINGS TO DO:



 IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SIGNED THE PETITIONS TO SAVE TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT, PLEASE DO AND PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TO SIGN. I will be collecting signatures each Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in the parking lot at 224 N East Avenue, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville.     Want to know more?  



  PLEASE go to YouTube and sign up for Washington County’s YouTube channel.  Subscribe and be informed.  You can do that here: https://www.youtube.com/@washcoar

  • Go back and watch meetings at your leisure and make notes.  If you have questions, ask me.

  • We need to grow our audience.

________________________________________________________________

 WANT TO BECOME INVOLVED?


  • ATTEND AS MANY MEETINGS OF THE QUORUM COURT AND ITS SUBCOMMITTEES AS YOU CAN.  CHECK MY WEBSITE WWW.BETHCOGER.COM FOR DATES AND TIMES.   

  • CONTACT JUDGE DEAKINS AND TELL HIM YOU WANT OUR CRISIS STABILIZATION UNIT TO REMAIN OPEN AND ASK HIM TO GET TO WORK ON FINDING ANOTHER VENDOR BECAUSE WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.

  •  Continue to ask Judge Deakins to appoint members to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee and get that group up and running! This is too important. If you haven’t called, please do so, or send email, or go by the courthouse and speak to the judge in person.  WHAT’S NEXT?  WHY WON’T JUDGE DEAKINS APPOINT MEMBERS AND ACTIVATE THIS COMMITTEE AND LET IT GET TO WORK?  ASK HIM.

  • Contact your JP and set up a time to meet them for coffee or just to get together.  Become a regular voice in their ear and urge them to support criminal justice reform and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.  That’s how I got started advocating to the court back in 2019. CAN YOU TAKE AN HOUR OR TWO AND MEET WITH YOUR JP AND SHARE YOUR CONCERNS OR COMMENTS, OR WHATEVER YOUR THOUGHTS ARE.

  • Share this Newsletter with your friends and neighbors!

  • Write letters to the editor.  letters@nwadg.com

  • Do you have a court date in Benton or Washington County? Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition (AJRC)  has a program to train volunteers to offer practical, procedural, and emotional support during your court hearing. From a reassuring check-in before your court date, to standing by your side on the day of court. Everyone deserves to be heard, supported, and understood.

  • To request a Court Support Volunteer, please fill out the Courtside Support Request Form. Questions? Concerns? Reach out to us at arkansasjusticereform@gmail.org.

  • To become a volunteer, contact AJRC at 479-345-1150 or the above email.  They provide training that will help make you a great Court Support Volunteer.

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