Use of Force on Arkansas Inmates on the Rise

DECEMBER 27, 2005 - Posted at 7:48 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Numbers from the state Department of Correction show that Arkansas prison guards have had to resort to force to control inmates this year more than three times as often as just four years ago.

Department records show that, in 2001, guards at the state's 18 prison units resorted to non-lethal force, or forcibly removed inmates from their cells, at least 12 times.  According to those records, by early December this year, the number of such incidents during 2005 had climbed to at least 40.

Correction Department spokeswoman Dina Tyler said the increase in use of force by guards stems from a hardening prison population.  She said that, as more nonviolent offenders are sentenced to non-prison programs, the prisons are left to deal more with people who were inclined to violence in the first place.

In her words, "These inmates don't have a long history of doing what they are supposed to do, they don't want to stop fighting.  They don't want to stop hurting an officer."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)