Rule on Force Used by State Prison Guards about to Change

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Guards at Arkansas state prisons would be able to use force on inmates who failed to obey "lawful orders" under a new rule being considered by correction officials.  The change would be the first to the department's corporal punishment policy in nearly three decades.

Under a policy approved in 1979, guards could only use force to protect themselves and others from injury and prevent damage and escapes by inmates.  Jail standards have gone up in the three decades since, but the corporal punishment law remained the same.

Correction Dept. officials told legislators at a hearing today that guards need to be able to force inmates out of cells when they need to be cleaned and under other circumstances.

The proposal is before the Legislative Council's Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations.

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