PEW Research Finds Arkansas' 'Punishment Rate' 20th In 2013, Now Sharply Increased

Mar 31, 2016

Credit Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A new study on how and when states put criminals in prison shows Arkansas falling in the middle for severity of punishment, with a ranking of 20th nationwide.

Yet PEW Charitable Trusts Director Adam Gelb said that’s based on 2013 data, before the Arkansas Board of Correction changed parole rules that sent thousands of newly released inmates back into prisons.

According to Gelb, “punishment rate” is a way to think about who goes to jail and for what, relative to overall crime rates.

He said in 2016, Arkansas might be ranked next to the top states because its prison population has grown as crime has fallen. Mississippi had the highest rate in 2013. 

Arkansas’s legislative Criminal Justice Task force discussed sentencing laws and practices in Arkansas last month, as part of a comprehensive data review created by a PEW funded group, the Justice Center.