Arkansas Prisons

Local & Regional News
11:38 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Arkansas Prison Board Seeks Proposals For New Prison

The Arkansas Board of Corrections is asking for proposals from communities interested in hosting a new, 1,000-bed state prison.

The board on Friday voted to accept requests for the next 90 days in hopes of firming up a plan before next January's legislative session. Prison officials told lawmakers last week that it will cost up to $100 million to build the new facility.

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Local & Regional News
9:07 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Pulaski County Jail Reopens Once Again After Being At Capacity

The Pulaski County Jail
Credit pcso.org

The Pulaski County Jail reopened Thursday. It had been closed to all but the most violent offenders since July 1 because it was at its capacity of 1,210 inmates.

Sheriff Doc Holladay said legislation passed in a special session this month opening up 600 more beds statewide for $6.3 million has helped ease the situation.

“We’ve been able to do this for large because of the agreement we’ve reached with the state to begin taking inmates out of our facility, state inmates who were backlogged in our county jail,” said Sheriff Holladay.

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Local & Regional News
10:23 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Panel Approves Leasing Space For State Prisoners

The Pulaski County Jail in Little Rock.
Credit pcso.org

A state panel has approved a deal to house as many as 250 Arkansas inmates at an unused portion of the Pulaski County jail as part of an effort to ease prison overcrowding.

The Board of Corrections on Monday approved leasing the satellite unit of the Pulaski County jail for $1 to house inmates that have been backed up at county facilities across the state.

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Local & Regional News
6:42 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Arkansas Corrections Officials Tell Lawmakers New Prison Needed

Arkansas Department of Correction Director Ray Hobbs, Department of Community Corrections Director Sheila Sharp and Board of Corrections Chairman Benny Magness appear before a joint legislative committee Thursday
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

After introducing new parole enforcement guidelines meant to cut back on repeat violators, Arkansas experienced the highest one-year increase in the inmate population in its history, at 17.7 percent. State prison officials now are considering new strategies for reform reentry programs and house an influx of inmates.

Speaking before a joint Judiciary committee Thursday, State Department of Correction director Ray Hobbs said the influx of parole violators into the system over the last year is only part of the problem.

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Local & Regional News
2:15 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Man Charged With Capital Murder Fit To Stand Trial

Darrell Dennis
Credit Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

A lawyer says a man charged with capital murder in Arkansas has been declared fit for trial after a mental evaluation.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports a lawyer for Darrell Dennis says his client can stand trial. He adds Dennis won't challenge the finding.

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Local & Regional News
10:47 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Lawyers Say Man Sentenced To Death Is Mentally Ill

Mug shot of Frank Williams Jr.
Credit Arkansas Department of Correction

Lawyers for a man who was sentenced to death for an Arkansas murder more than 20 years ago argue their client has a mental disability.

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Local & Regional News
10:52 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Search Continues For Missing Arkansas Inmate Three Weeks After Escape

Credit Arkansas Dept. of Correction

Corrections officials say the search continues for a convicted killer who escaped an Arkansas prison more than three weeks ago.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Shea Wilson says the agency continues to follow up on tips and reported sightings of inmate Timothy Buffington, who escaped the Pine Bluff Unit on June 21.

But Wilson said Monday that there's been no confirmed sighting of Buffington apart from surveillance video taken the night of the escape. He escaped while doing janitorial work at a house on prison grounds, and officials say he stole a shotgun.

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Local & Regional News
9:00 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Beebe Proposing $6.3 Million For Prison Beds

Gov. Mike Beebe's office says it has found $6.3 million in the budget to fund up to 600 additional prison beds.

Beebe's office said Thursday that the additional funding will relieve some backup of state prisoners in county jails, assuming it wins approval in a special session.

The governor says he'll add items to a call for a special session if passage in the House and Senate is assured. Already, legislators are working to win a consensus on public school employee health insurance. A bill that would block the lottery from adding monitor games is also under discussion.

Arkansas Prisons
4:56 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Study: Arkansas Prisoners Have Very Low Financial Literacy

A study out of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock says the financial literacy of prisoners exiting the Arkansas Department of Correction system is significantly lower than that of the state’s general public. The study also found the level of financial literacy was lower for non-white prisoners than for white prisoners.

You can read the full study here.

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Local & Regional News
3:38 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Children Of Fathers In Prison Face Isolation, Shame, Say Advocates

Inmates from a community correctional facility in Osceola sing spirituals in the State Capitol Rotunda on Friday

As Father’s Day nears, advocates for families of prisoners are bringing attention to the barriers that persist between incarcerated parents and their children.

Inmates from the North East Community Correction Center in Osceola made the long trip down to the State Capitol rotunda to deliver spiritual hymns as advocates detailed the ongoing struggles of children whose dads are imprisoned. Some from the choir of nonviolent offenders, like Christopher Brewer, were also moved to speak.

“I think all the time about what my kids think. Where is their father?” he said.

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