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Like you, I’m tired of reading these stories. Public safety has always been a critical issue, but lately, because of crowding in our prisons and jails, public safety is on everyone’s mind. And stories like this one make us even more frustrated. How do we stop this cycle of violence?


It’s a fair question. It deserves an answer. Let’s look at the facts:

Arkansas has too many prisoners and not enough prison space. As of last week, we were above capacity in our state prisons, and because of that, more than 2,500 inmates are backed up in county jails.

As any sheriff and prosecutor will tell you, there is a crying need for more prison space. Te lack of bed space causes a dangerous chain reaction: state prisoners fill up our county jails, repeat offenders are released on bond because there’s no room, and some prisoners are released early.

on parole. Our parole system couldn’t handle that increased caseload. So instead of holding parolees accountable and providing them reentry support, too many parolees became repeat offenders.

also slows the economic growth of our state. Businesses and entrepreneurs may be wary of relocating where there’s a crime problem. What you think about when you consider a job change or a move to another state? Is it safe? How is the quality of life? Can I be comfortable raising my family there?

It’s a vicious cycle. It puts the safety of the public at risk. It Last year, more than 10,000 inmates were released from prison

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Governor unveils prison plan

f you picked up the newspaper the other day, you may have noticed this headline: “One killed, three injured in shooting….”

It’s all tied back to public safety.

On Wednesday (Feb. 18), I announced my Public Safety Plan. My plan is a three-part approach to criminal offenses. First, we need more prison space. Second, we need a more effective parole and reentry system, and third, we have to invest in alternative and accountable sentencing programs for non-violent offenders.

Te total cost is $64 million with

an investment of $32 million within the current budget.

After I announced my plan, I was asked why this approach is better than simply building another state prison.

Hon. ASA

HuTCHINSON Governor of Arkansas

For one, building a new prison would cost about $100 million. So we’re saving a substantial amount of money. Secondly, and more importantly, a $100-million prison does not change behavior. My plan not only invests in more prison space but it gives us our best chance to reduce the number of repeat offenders. Tis way, maybe we won’t face the need to build new prisons again and again.

It’s time we broke the cycle.

Asa Hutchinson Te Honorable Asa Hutchinson Governor of Arkansas

Asa Hutchinson sworn in as 46th

governor of Arkansas

Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hannah administered the oath of office to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on January 13, 2015. Raised in Gravette, Gov. Hutchinson was the youngest district attorney in the nation in 1982. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, as director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and as Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Since taking office as governor, he has proposed increasing from $28 to $30 a day the reimbursement rate county jails receive from the state for housing felony inmates. And during a Feb. 18, 2015, news conference he announced a $64 million prison reform plan that would create an additional 790 beds and seek to change behavior through investments in the parole system, a new societal re-entry system, and alternative sentencing arrange- ments for nonviolent offenders.


From The Governor

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