301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

3.10.23 – KNWA – Little Rock, Ark.

A bill was officially filed Thursday aimed at amending a law concerning violent felony offenses for purposes of parole.

The bill filed by Senator Joshua Bryant this week comes weeks after KARK’s story about a mistake by the Arkansas Department of Corrections (DOC) which caused nearly 300 inmates to lose their chance at parole.

The DOC admitted it wrongly interpreted an April 2015 law that made residential burglary a violent felony.

For seven years the DOC’s policy was that any residential burglary committed before the law changed would not be considered a violent offense when calculating sentences.

However, last year the department changed its position, saying that’s incorrect and that parole indeed could be denied because of a charge before April 2015.

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Senator Bryant says if this bill is passed it would clarify that residential burglary is considered a violent offense only on or after the law change and reinstate parole eligibility for those inmates impacted.

The bill is set to be heard in the senate judiciary committee on Monday.

To see the full bill, visit the Arkansas State Legislature website.