by Max Brantley
Brummett's review of the hearing on prison operations -- and the further evidence that the board that oversees prisons doesn't do much but ratify whatever management says -- suggests that an independent assessment of the system might be in order. By that, he means outside experts, not just legislators.
Sounds good to me. What doesn't sound so good is Gov. Beebe's instant "full confidence" statement about powerful prison boss Larry Norris. Norris might well have reacted appropriately to recent scandalous misdeeds in the prisons. But maybe what we need is a little more anticipation of problems so as to require a little less vigorous reaction. I don't know. My brainstorm is that it is possible there are better ways to run a prison system. It is also possible that there are not. It would be nice to have a neutral, qualified assessment. It might even produce a supporting argument for more of the money that prison officials always say is lacking