Easing Jail Overcrowding in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The state taking the first step to make sure more state inmates serve their time in prison, not county jails.

At it's peak, the state had 2,700 state inmates backed up in county jails across the state.

And that backlog means so called lesser crimes, burglary, theft etc., that the Pulaski County Jail simply hasn't had room for.

Now that's changing.

These are the first 50 state prisoners moving into a facility in Little Rock this afternoon.

The Arkansas Department of Correction says the plan is to house 200 inmates here, perhaps 250 over the next summer.

That's good news for Pulaski County, because it frees the same amount of beds for those non-violent property crimes plaguing many neighborhoods in central Arkansas.

"You can never guarantee somebody's safety just because some beds opened up but I can tell you right now it's not anything that's going to hurt, it's a good thing," says

The transfer made possible by state lawmakers who brokered a deal three weeks ago for $6 million additional dollars and 600 prison beds to give county jails a break and ease a little of that population pressure.

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