(KATV)-Escaped prisoner Timothy "Bo" Buffington was the topic of conversation Thursday at the Arkansas legislature's joint judiciary committee hearing on prison overcrowding. Arkansas Department of Correction Director Ray Hobbs was asked about the missing prisoner and why the search has been scaled back. "We haven't called off the search," Hobbs said. "It's my belief that it's only a matter of time before we find Timothy Buffington." Hobbs said as early as 2:30 Thursday morning, police were called to a possible sighting of Buffington in Pine Bluff. "We went out there with state police, state and local law officials and we did find a person that this concerned citizen phoned in, unlucky for us, it was not Buffington," Hobbs said. To address the overcrowding issue, Hobbs says he will request at the next legislative session the construction of a 1,000 bed facility, that will cost between $75 and $100 million dollars. In a special session, the legislature already approved the addition of 600 beds at a $6 million dollar cost, earlier this month. But even that won't be enough to take care of the more than 2,000 state prisoners in county jails or plan for growth.
"The 600 beds and the 1,000 beds won't even be enough to cover the current back up," said ADC spokesperson Shea Wilson.