Prison Director Seeks Change in State's Execution Law

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Dept. of Correction will ask lawmakers next year to remove a law allowing the director of the state prison system to call off an execution if he believes an inmate is mentally deficient.

Prisons director Larry Norris told members of the state Board of Corrections today that he would still have authority to call off an execution if an inmate was discovered to be pregnant.  However, Norris said he was not the proper person to judge mental abilities, saying he believes that should be left to the courts and doctors.

Norris said the state prison system would ask lawmakers to consider making that change in the 2009 legislative session, as well as consider other issues.

The state Board of Corrections approved Norris' legislative package in a voice vote.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)