Arrest warrant amnesty program underway Wednesday

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) -- You could call it a second chance for some....

"We'll have an influx of people coming in to take advantage of the situation that Judge Blackman has done for Craighead County and the city of Jonesboro," said Corporal David MacDonald, with the Jonesboro Police Department.

It's called arrest warrant amnesty.  Starting Wednesday, people with outstanding Craighead County District Court warrants for non-payment of fines or failure to appear issued before August 10, 2008 may be eligible for a break.

"What we'll see is a lot of people get out of the system, and later on hopefully it will slow down for us, and also for the court system," said MacDonald.

MacDonald says sometimes people just fall on hard times and fall behind on payments or fear jail time and loss of work.   This way, he says, for some is an easier way out.

"They can come in and make their payment for non-payment of fine.   They won't get any public service work, they won't get any jail time.   They just come in and pay their fine off and everything is good," said MacDonald.

Craighead County District Judge Keith Blackman instituted the program.   He says now, partly because of the economy, is a good time to do it again.  He says the county did this back in 2006.

"It gives people a little more advantage that they might not have other wise.   We know that there are people out here that need a little break and this will give them that," said Blackman.

While the program starts on Wednesday, Blackman says he hasn't set an end date yet.  For David MacDonald,  he says there have been successes before with this program, and says he expects success in the future.

"It's very beneficial both to the city and the county, and  also to the court system," said MacDonald.

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