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Benton County Jail

1300 Southwest 14th Street
Bentonville, AR 72712-3632

Interview with Tom and Joe

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Tom: 5 days
Joe: it was 120 days long

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Tom: Yes I was in a holding cell for 16 hours, it was the worst part of the hole thing, there were over 30 men in a 16x12 room
Joe: right after sentencing they put me back in the police car and went back to benton county jail to serve the rest of my time wich ended up to be 4 months.

Life On the Inside
Benton County Jail services the needs of Bentonville and Benton County. It is located in the northwest corner of Arkansas. The maximum capacity for the Benton County Jail is approximately 508 inmates. This facility was open back in 1999 and covers just over 100,000 square foot.

The inmates are housed in pods. They are separated within these pods based on their particular offense. For the more serious offenders, they will be going to the maximum security pod. This is also where solitary confinement occurs for any inmate who is caught breaking the rules.

There is also a minimum security pod, a dorm style housing unit and a barracks which houses the inmates who are eligible for work release.
According to an inmate's interview about their stay at Benton County, there is very limited access to any type of leisure time activity such as television, books or other recreational facilities. There was also limited access to the outdoors and only two meals a day were provided.

Good Time Behavior
Arkansas state law allows for inmates who have been convicted of a non-violent offender to become eligible for good behavior time in the amount of one day for every day served. Each inmate is assigned a "class" distinction from I-IV. Class I is what is considered a model prisoner who is available for the full one-to-one early release.

For any infraction, an inmate is assigned to a higher class and has their good time privileges taken aware. The mere fact that Arkansas jails might be overcrowded will have no impact on who gets out early. It all comes down to a question of behavior and type of offense.

Visitor and Phone Privileges
Depending on the availability, inmates are allowed to make calls from Benton County at a cost of $2.50 per minute. Visiting hours are scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday and by appointment only. The day for the visit depends on which pod the inmate is housed.

You will need to call into the main jail switchboard to arrange a visit. On the day of the visit, women are asked to dress conservatively and must present a state-issued ID. Inmates are allowed to have up to four visitors at a time.

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