by Max Brantley
The governor's plan will provide the additional resources and support needed by the Department of Correction and other Arkansas agencies to improve the outcomes of inmates who are released back into our communities. The increase in the number of prison beds and parole officers will ensure that the Department of Correction and the Department of Community Correction will be able to maintain a safe environment both within and outside prison walls.
But most importantly: While the governor's plan offers a speedy means of alleviating the backlog of state inmates in county jails, it also offers longterm solutions for overcrowding in the prison system.
This plan also provides for additional parole officers and reentry centers. That means enhanced supervision for those most at risk of reoffending.
What the governor is proposing goes far beyond easing overcrowding in jails and prisons, said ADC Director Wendy Kelley.
"The governor's vision for improvements to the criminal justice system and the cooperation among legislators and other state leaders in having open discussions have led to this plan, and we are excited to see this level of cooperation continue."
We agree with Governor Hutchinson that the solution does not lie in simply adding more prison space, but it also cannot be solved with criminal justice reforms alone. We must continue investing in programs such as Pre-K and workforce training that lower crime by giving Arkansans an opportunity for a better life.”