Arkansas' Prison Population Drops as Corrections Officials Ask for More Funding

DECEMBER 6, 2006 - Posted at 7:27 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A Justice Department report shows Arkansas' prison population decreased by 2.1 percent in 2005.

The report comes after state prison director Larry Norris is asking the Legislature for additional money for expansion.

State prison spokeswoman Dina Tyler says the report does not contradict Norris' request.  She says the drop in prisoners and increase in parolees comes from using the state's Emergency Powers Act to ease overcrowding in county jails.

The report found the number of state prisoners in Arkansas dropped from 13,807 at the start of 2005 to 13,511 at the end of the year.  Nationwide, there were 2.2 millon people in federal, state and local lockups last year.

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