AR Lawmakers Look at Alternatives to Building $100M Prison

LITTLE ROCK, AR – One idea floated today, an intensive 2-and-a-half year program for prisoners that could give them a chance to leave lock-up a year early and save the state an estimated $54 million a year.

It’s one of several options lawmakers say they are looking at.

The most high profile option, comes from the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), building a new 1000-bed prison at a cost of over $100 million.

ADC says it could be paid for by a $2 increase in car tags, but state forecasters tell lawmakers that decal fee would need to increase three to four dollars to pay for a new prison.

Either way, legislators say they won’t wait until the session starts in January.

“We have to be prepared to understand the consequences of what we’re doing and we can’t do that in 90 days, it’s not possible to resolve those issues and get the people in here. But we can do it now though,” says Eddie Joe Williams.

The department of correction says it stands by their $2 car tag increase estimate.

An issue lawmakers expect to revisit throughout the rest of the year.

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