Arkansas lawmakers discuss prison overcrowding problems and solutions

THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES ARE OVER-CLOSED, WHICH MEANS MORE OF THESE STATE PRISONERS ARE DETAINED IN OUR LOCAL COUNTY HOLDS. UNTIL SPACE FREES UP. TODAY LEGISLATIVE HEARED FROM EXPERTS ABOUT POSSIBLE PRISON EXPANSION AND WAYS WE CAN KEEP INMAT FESROM BACK IN THE SYSTEM ONCE THEY ARE RELEASED. WHETHER OR NOT YOU LIVE NEAR A JAIL, YOU ARE A TAXPAYER IN ARKANSAS. AND SO THAT’S WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES, AND THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY. COUNTY PRISONERS ACROSS THE STATE, ESPECIALLY AT HOME IN WASHINONGT COUNTY AND ELSEWHERE IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, ARE FACING A LOT OF TENSION BECAUSE THEY HOLD PRISONERS WHO OTHERWISE SHOULD BE IN THE PRISONER SYSTEM OF OUR STATE. CHECDKE ONE BEFORE THIS MEETING WITH ONE OF THE BIG PRISON AND IN MY AREA, AND THEY HAVE TODAY 100 INMATES NEED TO BE TRANSFERRED. DAN THERE MAY ONLY BE A HANDLING, BUT THEY ARE VERY SERIOUS CRIMINALS WHO NEED TO GO TO ARKANSAS, THE PRISONER SPOTLIGHT SAID. BEFORE COV AIDT LATE 2019. ARKANSAS HAD THE FOURTH HIGHEST INCARCATION RATE IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. ONLY LOUISIANA, OKLAMAHO AND MISSISSIPPI HAD HIGHER INCARCERATION RATES. SHE SAYS SHE EXPECTS AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF INMATES BY 2031. IN ADDITION TO EXPANSION OF OUR STATE PRISONS, A FEW OTHER SOLUTIONS WERE DISCUSSED, SUCH AS PROVIDING MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT BEFORE THE RELEASE OF INMATES. ADAPTATION OF RESOURCES WHETHER IT IS PROGRAMMATIC RESOURCES, VOLUNTEER REINTEGRATION CENTERS, TRANSITION AND TRANSITION TO OFFENDERS WHO MATCH THIS HIGH RISK COTTON PROFILE. BYSK COTTON PROFILE. WELCH SERVED SEVEN YEARS IN THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. NOW HE IS EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE LASTING EFFECTS OF INCARCERATION. WE NEED TO START BY BANNING BOX UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS. THIS WILL GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO GET MORE JOBS THAT PAY A LIVING WAGE. I WAS A COSMETOLOGIST WHEN I ENTERED. SO I HAVE AN LT OS LICENSE BECAUSE I CANNOT TAKE THE COURSES TO KEEP IT ACTIVE. SO I LOST MY COSMETOLOGY LICENSE. BUT I’M NOT BACK TO SCHOOL. IN THE LAST YEARS, I HAVE RECEIVED MY COSMETOLOGY LICENSE AGAIN. WHEN I CAME HOME. I WAS AT WORK IN A SALON BECAUSE I HAD A LICENSE, THAT’S WHY EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT. LEGISLATIVES SAY THIS IS NOT THE ONLY CHANCE THEY CAN ASK QUESTIONS AND GET FEEDBACK ABOUT WHAT THEY CAN CHANGE TO HELP ARKANS

Arkansas lawmakers discuss prison overcrowding problems and solutions

Lawmakers gathered in Little Rock on Monday to talk about possible solutions to prison capacity issues in Arkansas Lawmakers heard from the Department of Corrections and other experts on everything from state prisoners to prisons of Arkansas County to educational and other opportunities for inmates to prevent them from returning to the system after release. Wendy Ware, the president of JFA Associates, projected the prison population and forecast for Arkansas for 28 years. that number is expected to reach 19,160. Ware said that before the pandemic, in 2019, Arkansas had the fourth highest incarceration rate in the entire country. Only Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi had higher incarceration rates. less on parole, goes through a reintegration program. They have a much better chance of succeeding if you guide them through these steps to release. Many don’t even make it through this process because they won’t follow the rules, but at least you’re giving those who are ready to exit the opportunities they need to be successful,” Bradshaw said.

Lawmakers gathered in Little Rock on Monday to discuss possible solutions to prison capacity issues in Arkansas.

Lawmakers heard from the Department of Corrections and other experts on everything from state prisoners in Arkansas County jails to educational and other opportunities for inmates to keep them from returning to the system after their release.

Wendy Ware, the president of JFA Associates, projected the prison population and forecast for Arkansas for 28 years.

She said that in 2019, 16,094 people were incarcerated in state prisons and by 2031 that number is expected to reach 19,160.

Ware said that before the pandemic, in 2019, Arkansas had the fourth highest incarceration rate in the entire country. Only Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi had higher incarceration rates.

Jerry Bradshaw, director of the Arkansas Division of Community Corrections, said giving resources to inmates while they’re still in prison is one way to set them up for success.

“Everyone, at least on parole, goes through a reintegration program. They have a much better chance of succeeding if you walk them through those stages until they’re released. Many don’t even make it through that process because they won don’t follow the rules, but at least you give those who are ready to go out the opportunities they need to succeed,” Bradshaw said.

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