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Governor Asa Hutchinson held a news conference Monday afternoon to provide an update on the expansion of the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) in Central Arkansas and also discussed the recent incident regarding three Crawford County deputies.
Crawford County Incident:
In regard to the video showing three officers making an arrest in Crawford County, the Governor gave the following response:
“That is reprehensible conduct in which the suspect is beat in that fashion. That response was not consistent with the training they received as certified officers with the Arkansas Law Enforcement training academy.
I have talked to the sheriff of Crawford County and relayed my understanding of the circumstances, and we discussed the investigation that will ensue and he certainly promised all the cooperation.
The investigation will continue by the State Police as well as by the federal authorities. This is not what our law enforcement community represents, it is not the proper response. They will be reviewed and appropriate action will be taken.”
Intensive Supervision Program:
After the Power Ultra Lounge shooting in 2017, the Division of Community Correction reinstated the ISP program. The program was comprised of four officers who monitor high-risk offenders in Pulaski County.
Governor Hutchinson announced the expansion of the ISP in April, based on the recommendations of Secretary Solomon Graves and the Division of Community Correction.
Today, the governor explained what the increase in funds has provided for the expansion of the ISP.
The additional funds allowed for 10 more ACC officers to manage a caseload of intensive supervision parolees in Central Arkansas. The increase in officers, in turn, created a substantial amount of seizures of firearms and drugs, along with arrests and new charges of parolees.
“There has been a good result of this effort, not perfect, but it is increasing the supervision of those on parole,” Governor Hutchinson said.
From January to April of 2022, the ISP operated with four officers handling all supervision cases. In that time, there were 28 arrests and four firearm seizures. There have been 109 arrests and 48 firearm seizures since the addition of 10 officers in April.
“The numbers that the governor presented speak for themselves,” Arkansas Department of Corrections Secretary Solomon Graves said. “As we have increased the resources for this program we have seen increases in confiscation both in illegal narcotics, but also weapons.”
The governor noted that the prison expansion is still proceeding. The Board of Corrections has already authorized $75 million for the project and will decide on another $50 million at the September 1 meeting.
The expansion once complete will provide additional capacity for serious violent offenders with the Department Of Corrections (DOC).
“You have to have prison space for violent offenders,” Governor Hutchinson said. “You also have to be able to relieve the pressure of the backup in our local jails.”
Earlier in the year, at the governor’s direction, the DOC took steps to reduce the county jail backup this year which dropped from over 2,600 in January to 2,029 on August 19.
Due to the pandemic, there was a backlog in the state court system with many cases not being processed. The governor allocated $1 million with legislative support to both prosecutors and public defenders to help move cases along during the backup.
To provide more permanent relief the governor has asked the General Assembly to approve $4.5 million for additional state prosecutors, and another $4.5 million for additional public defenders.
The governor has also asked the General Assembly to approve $3 million for an additional Crisis Stabilization Unit in South Arkansas. This would be the fifth CSU in Arkansas.
You can watch the full news conference HERE.