criminal justice

Anti-abortion activists celebrate Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a woman's right to abortion.

Hundreds of new Arkansas laws set to take effect Aug. 1

BY: - July 31, 2023

Arkansas lawmakers passed 890 laws during this year’s legislative sessions, and most take effect on Tuesday. In Arkansas, new laws take effect 91 days after the end of a legislative session (This year’s session ended May 1). A handful of those are already in effect because they contained emergency clauses, meaning they become law immediately […]

A picture of the common area of a prison with glimpse inside a cell.

Expansion projects paused as Arkansas decides how to increase prison capacity

BY: - April 24, 2023

While Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has made expanding the state’s prison capacity a priority, three projects started under the previous administration are on hold for now. The early stages of those efforts — an expansion of a prison in North Arkansas and the new construction of a 1,000-bed prison and a separate 300-bed community […]

SESSION SNAPSHOT: The 94th Arkansas General Assembly adjourns

BY: - April 7, 2023

That sound you hear is the rejoicing of lawmakers, lobbyists, reporters and legislative staff that the 2023 legislative session is over. The Arkansas House of Representatives and Senate each met Friday morning to consider the final bills of the session before adjourning. They will still return in a few weeks to override any vetoes (none […]

Arkansas lawmakers conclude work following approval of tax cuts, education legislation

BY: and - April 7, 2023

From the state’s first female governor to an overhaul of the state’s education system, the 94th General Assembly brought unprecedented change to Arkansas. After three months of work, lawmakers adjourned Friday and plan to return on May 1 for the official end of the legislative session. “It started with a slow trot and ended with […]

Arkansas parole overhaul tweaked after House committee concerns

BY: - April 5, 2023

The sponsor of legislation to restructure Arkansas’ criminal sentencing and parole system made a pair of small changes to the bill after lawmakers raised concerns over a series of hearings the last two days. Under the initial version of Senate Bill 495, negligent homicide would have been upgraded to a felony in all instances, but […]

A picture of the common area of a prison with glimpse inside a cell.

Arkansas Senate votes for ‘truth in sentencing’ bill, bucking national and international trends

BY: - April 3, 2023

The proposed overhaul to Arkansas’ criminal sentencing and parole system moves in the opposite direction of several surrounding states and most of the U.S. and world.  Facing a growing body of research that more incarceration does not lower violent crime rates, policymakers elsewhere have focused on criminal justice measures that reduce the number of offenders in […]

Anti-abortion activists celebrate Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a woman's right to abortion.

SESSION SNAPSHOT: With a week to go, the Arkansas Legislature kicks it into high gear

BY: - March 31, 2023

It happens every legislative session. As adjournment nears, Arkansas lawmakers cram their biggest priorities through before it’s too late. House and Senate floor sessions go longer, and committees meet well into the night. Trying to keep up with all the legislation advancing, failing and stalling felt like drinking through a fire hose at times this […]

What is the Protect Arkansas Act?

BY: - March 28, 2023

State lawmakers this week introduced a massive overhaul of Arkansas’ parole system. The 132-page “Protect Arkansas Act” includes “truth-in-sentencing” changes that Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaigned on, removing the possibility of parole for those convicted of the most serious crimes. But it also extends the time that nearly all convicted felons must spend in prison […]

Governor-backed bill to change Arkansas’ parole and criminal justice system introduced

BY: - March 27, 2023

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday revealed legislation that proposes restructuring Arkansas’ parole system and eliminating parole eligibility for those convicted of the most violent offenses. The new Republican governor also announced that the state would seek to build a new 3000-bed prison. “Truth in sentencing” has been one of Sanders’ main priorities on the […]

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to Iowa Republicans on March 10, 2023, in Des Moines.

DeSantis, in Iowa, says GOP stance in culture wars will help win elections

BY: - March 12, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told Iowa Republicans Friday that standing strong in the culture wars around issues like education, criminal justice and health care in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will help their party win elections. DeSantis, along with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, spoke to more than 600 Iowans at the Iowa State Fairgrounds’ […]