The Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) says a large part of the reason that state prisons are overcrowded is the high rate of inmates on parole violating terms of their release and being sent back to jail.
A study by the department shows that from 1997 through 1999, 15,000 inmates were released from state prisons. Within three years, 5,155 of those released were back in prison for parole violations. And 2,032 were returned to prison for new crimes.
Prison officials say parole violations include failing drug tests or other post-release requirements, such as keeping authorities up to date on the inmate's address.
At Malvern, the state is building a prison for parole violators who haven't committed a new crime. Officials say the facility should prevent about to 100 parolees per month from landing back in a regular prison.
The facility will have 300 beds and will cost $6.5 million. At the lockup, parole violators will undergo a 60-day program.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)