Legislators Question Corrections Department's Money Request

JANUARY 13, 2006 - Posted at 8:29 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Plans by the state prison system to use money unspent on salaries and benefits elsewhere is drawing objections from legislators.

The prisons system wants to use money to pay for inmates' medical care, construction projects and equipment purchases.

A legislative committee on Thursday delayed action on the proposal until next month.

Prisons director Larry Norton says he likes to keep 200 of its 4,000-plus allotted positions unfilled.

House Speaker Bill Stovall, a Quitman Democrat, says he wants to review the department's transfers of salary money to other uses over the past several years.  He says he's concerned about money budgeted for staff going to other uses.

The proposal at hand would transfer $7.5 million.

(The Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)