Pulaski County sheriff Doc Holladay said building a new jail or adding onto the existing jail is a better option than renovating an old facility that he closed in April because of a leaking roof and other health hazards.

The current jail’s average daily population increased from 896 in 2006 to 945 in 2007, Holladay said at a news conference last week, including 160 non-violent prisoners transferred to a work force center from the closed section. Total bookings went from 13,436 in 2006 to 14,358 in 2007, he said.

The county currently funds only 880 jail beds, Holladay said. Little Rock and North Little Rock must house some of their prisoners in the Faulkner County jail, at a cost of $30 per inmate per day, while county officials look for ways to finance additional space.

The county had hoped it could repair the old facility for $1 million and reopen it, but a new engineering study estimated the cost of repairs at more than $5.7 million.

Holladay is expected to meet soon with the Pulaski County Quorum Court to discuss options for financing a new jail.

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