Lawmakers Told Diversion Programs Are Working for Offenders

MAY 10, 2006 - Posted at 3:52 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas prison officials say diversion programs are helping to ease crowding in state Correction Department lockups.

There are still over 13,000 state prisoners in Arkansas but the state had 132 fewer inmates at the end of 2005 than at the end of 2004.

Prisons spokeswoman Dina Tyler says drug courts and other programs that focus on rehabilitation as an alternative to prison are the reason the numbers are down.  Officials estimate there are 800 people who have gone through drug court and thus are not in prisons or jails.

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