Act 570

Message From the Sheriff

I am often asked why people who were sent to prison released so soon. In 2011, lawmakers recognized a problem with prisons overcrowding and passed Act-570. The law was designed to reduce prison populations by reducing sentences, expanding probation and parole, and encouraging reentry programs. This was a bad law then and is still a bad law today. I am one of several Sheriff's that opposed this law in 2011. This law changes sentencing guidelines for crimes and encourages the court system to give the guilty parties probation. If the court systems sends the guilty person to prison on the average they only serve approximately 33% of their sentence before they are eligible for parole to be released back into the community. For more serious violent crimes the percentage of time served is around 70% of their sentence. Keep in mind felony cases could be continued by the suspects defense lawyers for a year to a year and a half before the case is heard in circuit court.This is why we arrest offenders multiple times before they are finally sent to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. This is an uphill battle that my Office fights daily and until the lawmakers revisit Act-570 I see no clear correction to this ongoing problem. I would like to see more prison's built in Arkansas to deal with the over crowding problem. As always if you have any questions I have an open door policy at the Sheriff's Office and I look forward to hearing from you.      Thanks,

Sheriff JR Smith

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