Board says 204 inmates eligible for early release
The Arkansas Board of Corrections on Thursday made 204 inmates eligible for early release, while approving the opening of more beds at a state prison in Pine Bluff.
During a teleconference held in the morning, the board voted to invoke the Emergency Powers Act, which it has similarly done every 90 days for nearly 20 years as a valve to reduce overcrowding in prisons.
There were 176 men and 28 women made eligible for early release by the board’s unanimous vote.
Inmates made eligible for early release must still get approval from the Parole Board. Those who have already been approved for parole still have to complete any conditions of their release.
The releases will be broken up into 30-day windows over the next three months.
In other business Thursday, the board approved a request from the Department of Correction to begin moving inmates into a new 64-bed barracks at the Pine Bluff Unit.
Department Director Wendy Kelley told the board the old central records building at the prison had been renovated into barracks to house inmates.
The building is inside the perimeter fence and is just as secure as other parts of the prison, Kelley said in response to a question from the board.
With the board’s approval, inmates will be moved into the new barracks on Monday and Tuesday.
There were 18,081 inmates under the jurisdiction of the Correction Department on Thursday, including 1,474 housed in backup at county jails.