Felony Sentences Rise as Crime Rate Falls

NWA

A report to the Governor’s Criminal Justice Task force show felony prison sentences in Arkansas are on the rise, even as crime rates drop.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center targeted Arkansas’ sentencing guidelines, suggesting the wrong people are being sent to prison.

It says 82-percent of the 2014 prison sentences were drug, property or other offenses.

According to the presentation, most of those involved individuals with limited criminal history.

“You be very, kind of, thoughtful about how many people go to the deep-end of the system versus those that perhaps are supervised in the community on probation and other diversionary approaches,” Andy Barbee, Research Manager said.

The council will provide additional data and release more findings over the next year.

The task force has another meeting planned for early March.