Families of Benton County jail detainees continue to speak out; Governor Hutchinson weighs in

By | November 11, 2020

BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Benton County Jail continues to see cases of COVID-19. There are now 260 confirmed cases in the jail- 256 of those are detainees and four are staff members.

Over the last several weeks, KNWA/FOX24 has heard from concerned families and a former detainee in Benton County. The concerns were shared in a story Sunday, November 9th, and KNWA/FOX24 followed up with the county sheriff to address the complaints.

As families have continued to reach out with concerns, KNWA/FOX24 took these concerns straight to Governor Hutchinson Tuesday, November 10th in his COVID-19 press conference.

“I know that they work very, very hard to deal with that issue there in the county and hopefully that will not spread any further,” Governor Hutchinson said, regarding the spread of the virus in the jail.

Complaints begin with overcrowding within the pods. One detainee claiming there are 45 people in his pod, causing some to have to sleep on tables and no social distancing taking place.

Benton County Public Information Officer, Shannon Jenkins, said there are only two overcrowded pods: one with 42 people and another with 32. She said this number of people is unavoidable due to overcrowding in the jails, however, every person does have a bed.

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Another complaint: for both COVID-19 positive and negative detainees.

Holloway said doctors and nurses are on site in the jails 24/7 to provide treatment to those in need. Governor Hutchinson also noted Holloway’s statements regarding medical treatment.

“I spoke to the Sheriff of Benton County and he indicated to me that the inmates are separated in terms of those that have tested positive,” Hutchinson said. “In fact, he did mention that they have the medical care provider that does provide care and if anybody had symptoms that would justify more care then that should be referred to them.”

Governor Hutchinson said he expects to learn more information in the coming days and KNWA/FOX24 will continue to provide those updates as information is provided.

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