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Reform of violent criminal sentencing is on the governor’s desk in Arkansas



Little Rock, Arkansas – Both chambers of the state legislature in Arkansas have approved a proposal to change the punishment for violent offenses, and it now goes to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders for approval.

Anyone sentenced to prison for crimes like murder, child sex abuse, rape, or other severe crimes would have to complete their entire term, according to the new law. The transition would start in 2024.

This measure is a component of a bigger package put up by the governor that aims to build a new prison complex for about $470 million. The proposed facility would increase the state’s prison capacity by 3,000 beds.

Sanders stated when she first unveiled the plan that these modifications would “protect our state’s future.”

“If you are a murderer, if you are a rapist, if you are an abuser, [Arkansas] will put you in prison for a very long time,” Gov. Sanders said at a press conference announcing the plan. “If you commit an offense like murder, rape, human trafficking, or child sex abuse– you will serve 100% of your sentence.”

According to SB495, people found guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and other felonies must serve at least 85% of their sentences starting in 2025.

The legislation was introduced on March 27 and passed both the House and the Senate before being delivered to the governor on April 7.

The bill’s opponents claim that it will merely exacerbate the issues caused by the state’s high incarceration rate.

“What this is saying is lock them up and throw away the key,” Democratic Sen. Clarke Tucker said before the vote. “That’s cheap politics, but it’s very expensive policy.”


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