Parole System to Be Discussed During Monday Meeting

A key meeting at the state capitol on Monday will focus on Arkansas' parole system.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- A key meeting at the state capitol on Monday will focus on Arkansas' parole system.

It's a system that's been under fire ever since a parolee with a long criminal history was let out of jail just two days before he's accused of murdering a man in Little Rock.

The Board of Corrections meets amid a slew of investigations into the state's parole system.

"We want to see where the break downs are," said State Senator David Sanders (R-Little Rock), a long-time critic of how parolees are handled.

He says the system incentivises the Department of Community Corrections to keep parolees from being sent back to prison even if they commit serious crimes when they're on the streets.

"We've known for quite some time that it doesn't work," Sanders said.

For Sanders, Darrell Dennis is case in point.  Dennis was granted early release from prison in 2008 and was reportedly arrested at least 14 times in the next five years.  He was repeatedly released from jail until being accused of murdering 18-year-old Forrest Abrams in May.
Sanders says the Dennis case is just one of many.

"Since Forrest Abrams' murder there have been four other murders that have taken place and parolees have been charged," Sanders said.

That's why Sanders says investigations into the parole system are so important.
One, that's being conducted within the corrections system, is looking to identify how Dennis may have slipped through the cracks.
It will be a key topic for Monday's special meeting.
Another topic will be the implementation of legislation sponsored by Sanders that changes the way parole programs are assessed.

Data on parolees absconding and facing new arrests and convictions will be used to measure parole programs, instead of how often parolees are sent back to prison.

Other investigations into the parole system include those being conducted by the governor's office, the Arkansas State Police and members of the state legislature, including Sanders.

The meeting Monday is set for 1:30pm.
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