AR Board of Corrections passes new policies on parolees

LITTLE ROCK (KATV)--Another parolee was arrested earlier this morning, accused of hitting a woman in the face with a gun and trying to steal her vehicle.

According to the police report, Joseph Stephens was found shortly after breaking into a daycare center.

This is just another example of parolees arrested for more crimes after release.

Today the Arkansas Board of Corrections met and passed a new set of policies.

The board meeting comes after Governor Mike Beebe released findings of an investigation about the department of community correction.

The report found there were problems with the parole system after a convicted felon was just arrested and charged for a kidnapping and murder.

"If a parole officer feels a parolee is a danger to public safety, he needs to be locked up, and that's what the board wants," said Chairman Benny Magness.

With no opposition, the board passed their new policies on parolees, which includes automatic parole revocation hearings for parolees charged with a new felony.

"These policies today, I think will go a long way in helping protect the public, but as well released some of the crisis right now that we have with overcrowding," added Magness.

Part of the new policy includes putting parolees, who commit lesser offenses such as a first time misdemeanor arrest, on GPS monitoring.

As of last week, 338 parolees were still sitting in jail, pending revocation hearings. Out of those, 240 were non-violent offenders. This means 71 percent could be put on GPS monitoring to free up beds for other violent offenders.

However, the board did say while these new policies will help, it won't solve the overcrowding problem.

They plan to ask the state for more funds to get more beds in jails.

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