Department of Community Correction Innovates To Reduce Prison Population, Combat Recidivism

Nov 10, 2014

Arkansas's Department of Community Correction is developing new strategies for reducing recidivism and decreasing the state's overflowing prison population.

One plan includes releasing offenders into supervised transitional homes early.  On Monday, the legislature reviewed the Parole Board's procedures for releasing prisoners.

Dina Tyler, deputy director at the correction department said these transitional environments are necessary to help offenders leave prison and stay out.

"What we're trying to do would take some offenders who are going to go on parole eventually and  move them out a little bit early into transitional housing where we can work with them in the hopes we will lower the chance they will be back."

According to Tyler, it costs $24,000 a year to keep an inmate in state prison. She says her department hopes the supervised transition program will funnel some inmates directly back into society and allow them to skip traditional parole transitional programs.

"We want to concentrate on job readiness, life skills and substance abuse. Because we have to ultimately do is drop our recidivism rate if we ever hope to afford the correctional system," she said. 

Her department has also developed a plan to add 500 beds to transitional programs around the state for parolees being released on standard timelines. That plan will be put before the legislature in the upcoming session.