Prisoners Could be Released Early

Saturday August 2, 2003 -- Posted at 9:27 p.m. CDT

ARKANSAS -- Some Arkansas prisoners could be getting out of jail early soon. Officials say they may begin using a new state law intended to reduce the backlog of state prisoners in county jails by the end of
the month.

The Legislature this year authorized changes in the law on releasing prisoners early. Previously, only inmates within 90 days of parole were eligible for early release. The new law will allow the board to release prisoners within a year of parole.

The law eventually will affect 600 to 700 inmates who committed drug, theft or other nonviolent crimes. As of yesterday, state prisons held 12-thousand-95 inmates, and one-thousand-422 state prisoners were backed up in county jails awaiting space in the prison system.

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