AR Parole Board Member Wants Inmates Housed Out of State

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A member of the Arkansas Parole Board said Thursday the state should consider using out of state, for profit, prisons as a more cost effective form of addressing the need for additional prison beds.

Jimmy Wallace says all options should be considered before the legislature moves forward with a request from the Arkansas Department of Correction to fund a 1,000 bed prison, at an estimated cost of $100-$120 million.

"We owe it to the taxpayers of Arkansas to do the job most expedient at the less cost," Wallace says. "If an out of state can do it for $28 per day and we do it for over $60, we should explore that."

State senator Jeremy Hutchinson heads the judiciary committee and said the option will be discussed later this year.

"We'll look at it, but I'm leery," Hutchinson says. "First of all it's our responsibility as a state to protect our citizens. I think if we need to build a prison, we need to build a prison. Putting our inmates in the hands of another state and subjecting ourselves to their budget decisions and their local politics, I think is dangerous."

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