Prison Overcrowding May Lead to Early Release of More Than 400 Inmates

December 5, 2003 - Posted at 8:12 a.m. CDT

WRIGHTSVILLE, AR - The State Department of Correction is offering early release to 409 inmates because of prison overcrowding.

The situation has forced the state to decide to release 464 male inmates and 45 female prisoners over the next 90 days.  The state Department of Correction made the decision yesterday under the state Emergency Powers Act.

Under an amended version of the law, approved by the Legislature this year, the board also authorized the early release of another group of inmates.

The amended law permits the early release of inmates when more than 500 prisoners are backed up in county jails statewide.  The law applies to only the best behaved inmates who are convicted of non-violent offenses, Correction spokeswoman Dina Tyler said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)