Corrections Department: Prison Numbers are Artificially Deflated

MAY 28, 2004 - Posted at 7:41 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The state Correction Department says emergency early release of prisoners is the reason that Arkansas shows up as the only state in the South to not have an increase in its inmate population.

Every other Southern state showed an increase ranging from 1.1 percent to 4.8 percent.  Arkansas' prison population fell by 2.2 percent, to 12,378 from 12,655 in 2002.

Prisons spokeswoman Dina Tyler says the numbers were down only because of the Arkansas Department of Correction's use of the Emergency Powers Act to release prisoners early to ease chronic crowding.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)