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Gov. Hutchinson supports more prison beds

By Michael Tilley
Talk Business & Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday (Feb. 10) said he will push for an estimated $60 million to $100 million plan to add 498 prison beds to the state’s prison system. Funds would come from the state’s budget surplus and must be approved by the Arkansas Legislature, he said.

The governor said during his weekly press briefing that Arkansas’ prison system experienced an “artificial drop” in prison population because of COVID-19, but projections show prison growth of 1.4% per year in the coming years. He also said the state has to do more to relieve the number of state prisoners now held in county jails.

A proposed 498-bed expansion of the Arkansas Department of Correction’s (ADC) North Central Unit near Calico Rock has been approved by the Board of Corrections. Gov. Hutchinson said he approves the recommendation and will seek approval for the expansion when the Arkansas Legislature meets for the state’s fiscal legislative session. That session begins on Feb. 14.

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