|Updated: 3/23/2011 5:49 am
||Published: 3/22/2011 2:24 pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Mike Beebe has signed into law an overhaul of Arkansas' sentencing and probation laws aimed at curbing the state's prison costs.
Beebe said Tuesday he was hopeful the plan would slow prison growth, but he added it may have to be tweaked over time.
The law calls for lowering sentencing guidelines for some lower-level offenses and raising funding for probation and alternative sentencing programs.
A study commissioned by the state last year said Arkansas' prison population had doubled over the last 20 years to more than 16,000 inmates and that, if left unchecked, it would cost the state an additional $1.1 billion.
The bill will cost $9.4 million to implement and will add drug courts and more probation and parole officers.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)