LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Department of Correction officials have discussed building a new regional jail with several counties in the southeast part of the state. Judges, sheriffs and lawmakers from Drew, Bradley, Lincoln, Chicot and Cleveland counties met Thursday to discuss the jail. Department officials say the potential 600-bed facility would house mostly state Department of Correction inmates. It also would have a certain number of reserved spots for participating counties.

The idea for the regional jail comes as counties struggle with jail space limitations. Two of the five counties agreed to move forward with plans. A third county is needed to negotiate a contract. Republican Rep. Jeff Wardlaw of Hermitage says that several private corporations have expressed interest in running a regional jail since the meeting Thursday.