Escapes Cause Arkansas Prison Department to Ban Inmate Drivers

OCTOBER 10, 2006 - Posted at 7:36 a.m. CDT

PINE BLUFF, AR - The Arkansas Department of Correction says inmates will no longer be able to drive other inmates without supervision.

Department director Larry Norris made the decision as a work-release inmate remains at large after he drove off in a state van instead of picking up inmates in Little Rock.  Two other inmates, who were eventually caught, drove off in state vans in July.

On Friday, work-release inmate Kenneth Stumbaugh disappeared.  The state van Stumbaugh was driving was found a day later, abandoned in a grocery store parking lot in Little Rock.  Stumbaugh was in for theft and forgery.

The Correction Department used inmates as drivers to save money.  Now the agency says it needs $300,000 more per year to hire ten drivers.

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