Work-Release Escapes Lead to Plans for Additional Prison Hiring

OCTOBER 16, 2006 - Posted at 8:03 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new state prison policy requiring guard supervision of inmates driving state work-release vans will cost money, but a prison spokeswoman says the funding is already in hand.  The policy change announced last week followed three escapes of work-release inmates in three months.

Prison spokeswoman Dina Tyler says prison officials don't plan to seek more funding from the Legislature to pay for ten new guard positions at work-release units.  She said that, instead, they will use unspent money originally allocated for guard positions that have gone unfulfilled at other units.  She said some units have slots that have gone vacant for months and months, and money would have shifted from them to pay for the new work-release van guards.

She estimated that hiring the new guards should cost about $300,000.

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