COVID-19 in Arkansas: Arkansas to add nearly 500 prison beds, COVID continually declines | KLRT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson gave a press conference Thursday afternoon where he discussed the state’s plans for prison population growth and declining COVID-19 cases.
During the briefing, Hutchinson noted that over the past two years, the Arkansas Department of Corrections has seen a decline in population due to COVID-19 affecting the courts.
He added that the state will need additional prison beds as the state expects the population to increase over the next 10 years. The governor announced he would support plans to add nearly 500 beds to the North Central unit at Calico Rock.
Hutchinson said he had approved the project, which he said would cost between $60 million and $100 million. He also noted that construction is expected to start in 2023.
According to Hutchinson’s figures, there were 16,094 prisoners in 2020, which is expected to rise to 19,160 by 2031.
In February of this year, Hutchinson noted that Arkansas had a backup of 2,251 convicted felons in county jails waiting to go to jail.
Hutchinson also discussed COVID-19 in the state, noting that active cases and hospitalizations have declined in recent weeks.
New figures from health officials show that active cases have fallen by 2,790, bringing the total to 24,274. The data shows that there are currently 1,257 Arkansans hospitalized, a decrease of 66.
The state recorded 1,825 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 802,198 since the start of the pandemic. Health officials reported 10 more deaths, bringing the total to 9,937.
There have been 3,865 vaccine doses administered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 3,910,956. The state reported that 1,554,238 Arkansans have been fully immunized, and another 371,320 residents have partial immunity. against the virus.