LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- The Arkansas Department of Correction says
the nearly 17,000 inmates in custody right now are putting a major strain on
Channel 7 reported two
months ago that county jails were experiencing a large increase of inmates
because of a new law requiring a revocation hearing before parole violators can
be released. It's a number reaching historical levels inside county cells and
our prison system.
Prison cells are so overcrowded
at this point, Arkansas detention centers tell us they're turning inmates away.
Those destined for years behind bars are instead being held in county jails.
"Having a larger
number of people does create more stress. There are greater risks to staff, and
to inmates because of the stresses and strains that go along with having those
higher numbers," said Arkansas Department of Correction spokesperson, Shea
Wilson told us there's a
sole factor contributing to the 16,867 in custody, a number that's rising.
"Recent measures in
the parole system they are revamping their system and bringing more people in
so that of course puts more pressure on our agency," she added.
Arkansas Senator David Sanders
was a strong advocate this summer that too many people were on parole, and instead
should be behind bars. He's sticking to that stance and believes funding to
hold more inmates needs to be allocated.
"Again I think what
we have to do is potentially re purposing facilities. We can't afford not to do
it because public safety is so important. Everything we do is figuring out what
the true cost is, and prioritization of what we should be doing," Sanders said
To help ease much of this
pressure, ADC continues to use a system that actually paroles inmates that meet
requirements for up to a year early.