Arkansas judge addresses jail overcrowding with educational opportunities

Local News

FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. – A district judge is working towards improving jail overcrowding with educational opportunities in Faulkner and Van Buren counties.

“We have a jail overcrowding problem. With too many people getting in trouble,” explains Judge Chris Carnahan.

Judge Carnahan’s goal is to not only reduce the number of inmates but also help them develop as people and become assets to their communities.

“To do that, I’m suspending about 5 days of jail time. In return they are going to complete 50 hours of career education,” he adds.

The program is partnered with University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton Adult Education Center. It has locations in both Conway and Clinton.

The university released the following statement about the partnership:

“The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM) Adult Education program looks forward to the collaboration with the District Courts of Faulkner and Van Buren counties. By increasing the educational attainment and college/career readiness of individuals charged with a misdemeanor, UACCM hopes to reduce the recidivism rates in Faulkner and Van Buren counties. UACCM’s goal is to prepare these individuals for success in the workforce through the delivery of educational services and career guidance. The UACCM Adult Education program provides all students with the skills necessary to succeed in today’s workplace. By helping students connect with outside resources in their local communities, adult education employees contribute to the likelihood of student success.”

The idea was presented by Faulkner County Justice of the Peace Kris Kendrick.

“Ultimately this is going to save the county taxpayer dollars because these people, they won’t be sitting in jail. They are going to be able to stay working, stay with their family, and ultimately hopefully improving their education,” said Kendrick.

Judge Carnahan said he has high hopes for the program.

“This is a way to kind of help lower those numbers but focus on a positive results.”

Since it began Aug. 1, he has sentenced six people to participation in the program.

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