301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

3.13.23 – KARK

A bill that would address a seven-year error by the Arkansas Department of Corrections (DOC) is one step closer to becoming law.

KARK first brought the story to the attention of Arkansans in February.

As a result of what the DOC calls a “misinterpretation” of a 2015 law that reclassified residential burglary as a violent offense.

Nearly 300 inmates recently lost their chance at parole.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill on Monday, filed by Senator Joshua Bryant, which aims to address the issue.

Bryant says his constituent is one of two inmates who were released from prison, then re-arrested the next day.

“Anybody that has contacted me whether by letter or by phone is looking for empathy or sympathy for the person in their family that committed acts of felony against society,” Bryant said. “What they are looking for the state to honor their word.”

Bryant said the bill would not immediately grant an inmate parole but would instead reinstate parole eligibility.

The bill now heads to the full Senate.