Arkansas Prisons

Hot Spring Co. Sheriffs Office

The Hot Spring County Sheriff's Office says authorities have captured a murder suspect who escaped from county jail.

Authorities said Monday that 24-year-old Cornell Huell was back in jail after escaping Sunday night.

Huell was being held on charges of capital murder, burglary and theft in connection to a February killing.

KATV-TV reports that sheriff's office officials believe Huell scaled a 20-foot fence and used a blanket to cover razor wire at the top.

It's unclear how he was apprehended on Monday.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A program that advocates say has saved the lives of hundreds of dogs while helping to rehabilitate Arkansas prison inmates was honored Friday at the state Capitol.

Paws in Prison, which was modeled on programs in other states, started in Arkansas in 2011 and matches dogs that are in animal shelters and otherwise would be euthanized with select prison inmates.

Doctor Mary Parker-Reed, vice-chair of the Arkansas Board of Corrections, says it has proven to be very effective.

The attorney for two Arkansas prison inmates who were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles told the state Supreme Court that both should be resentenced based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Jeff Rosenzweig argued Thursday to the state court meeting in Mountain Home that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling should be applied retroactively and Aaron Hodge and James Grubbs should each receive new sentencing hearings.

The Arkansas Department of Correction will soon begin transferring female inmates who are eligible for a work-release program into a new facility in Pine Bluff.

The department says the process of moving 54 inmates to the Pine Bluff Re-Entry Center will start on Saturday.

The department's work-release program is for inmates who are within 30 months of parole. Only those with non-violent convictions and clean disciplinary records are eligible.

Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza will hear the start of a trial today of Darell Dennis, an eight-time parole absconder, accused of murdering an 18-year-old man weeks after he was released on parole in 2013.

The incident led to greater restrictions in the state’s parole system.  University of Arkansas at Fayetteville law professor Laurent Sacharoff spoke with KUAR about reforms that had preceded the murder and were redirected afterwards.

The Arkansas House has endorsed a key part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's criminal justice reform plan to help ease overcrowding at county jails.

Lawmakers voted 79-5 Tuesday to allow the state to partner with county jails on regional facilities to help clear the backlog of more than 2,600 state inmates at the facilities. It also allows inmates to apply for Medicaid benefits and provides avenues for them to enroll in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Hurdles Remain To Resume Arkansas Death Penalty Process

Mar 23, 2015

The Arkansas Supreme Court's decision upholding a 2013 lethal injection law clears a major hurdle to resuming the death penalty in a state that hasn't executed an inmate in a decade. But the path is by no means clear for capital punishment to make a return to Arkansas. A narrowly divided court overturned a Pulaski County judge's ruling that the Legislature's most-recent rewrite of Arkansas' execution law violated the state constitution by allowing the Correction Department to decide which barbiturate to use when putting inmates to death.

An Arkansas House committee has endorsed a key part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to overhaul the state prison system and reduce overcrowding at county jails.

The House Judiciary Committee in a voice vote Thursday advanced the bill to the full House. It allows the state to partner with county jails on regional facilities to help clear the backlog of more than 2,600 state inmates at county jails. It also allows inmates to apply for Medicaid benefits and provides avenues for them to enroll in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Arkansas Supreme Court Upholds State's Lethal Injection Law

Mar 19, 2015

The right of the Arkansas Department of Correction to select a chemical used in executions does not violate state law or separation of powers, the state’s highest court ruled Thursday.

Talk Business & Politics

With state lawmakers gearing up for a continuation of their debate over changes to the state’s prison system, sentencing guidelines, and parole and probation protocol, there is a push for more transparency to the convoluted and complicated process of criminal justice.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, which airs Monday evening at 6:06 on KUAR, Sens. David Sanders and Jeremy Hutchinson and Rep. John Vines discussed what they see as problems and potential solutions to the challenge.

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