The City of Pine Bluff will be responsible for paying $402,704 to Jefferson County after losing a lawsuit filed against the county regarding detainee bed space at the Jefferson County Jail.

The City will also be responsible for an additional $104.05 plus 5 percent for court costs in the matter.

The ruling came from the Honorable David N. Laser Wednesday afternoon.

The issue of the lawsuit was a 2006 agreement between the city and county that settled a lawsuit between the city and county that was signed in 2006 and dealt with bed space at the new county jail, with the city guaranteed 75 beds to house misdemeanor those arrested or convicted of misdemeanor crimes. The city would also have first priority on 30 additional beds that had been allocated to other municipalities and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff if those entities were not using the beds.

The agreement went on to provide that the county would cover the incarceration costs, including food and medical care and the city would not be liable for costs unless it exceeded not only its 75 bed limit but also the 30 beds the city had first priority to.

Despite a clause providing that the agreement would be reviewed from time to time, there have been no changes made since it was signed by the late County Judge Jack Jones and former Pine Bluff Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. Any changes or alterations to the agreement would require both the city and county to sign off on them.

In December 2020, The Quorum Court adopted an ordinance imposing a $30 per day per detainee fee for each prisoner from any city that is accepted and kept by Jefferson County once that 75 bed threshold is met.

Additionally, the judgement states that the City of Pine Bluff will be responsible for all subsequent monthly invoices tendered by Jefferson County for confinement of its arrestees as long as Ordinance 2020-154 remains in effect.