Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced plans Tuesday to expand the Intensive Supervision Program in Arkansas to address a rise in violent crime.
The expansion will add 10 new officers to the program, which focuses on high-risk offenders who are on parole and have a history of violence or gang affiliation, to the four already active in Pulaski County. The officers will cover five counties – Lonoke, Jefferson, Faulkner, Saline, and Pulaski.
The governor said the costs for the first year are estimated to be a little more than $1 million. Ongoing costs each year would be $820,000.
The expansion of the program and approval of funding is subject to approval by the General Assembly.
“What this program is, intensive supervision, is to provide a higher level of support, of scrutiny, of supervision of those who pose a higher risk who have a history of violence,” Hutchinson said.
The governor said the nation has seen a rise in violent crime over the last couple of years, something Arkansas has also experienced. He pointed out a recent shooting in Dumas where one person was killed and more than 20 others were injured at a “community family event.”
Hutchinson said the suspects in that shooting were first time felony offenders and would not have been stopped by the intensive supervision program, but one of the alleged perpetrators has already been released on $100,000 bond.
“I don’t understand that quite frankly when you’re looking at that type of violence, that type of activity and that this compels in my judgment someone to be held in custody if they pose a continued risk and so I want to learn more about that,” Hutchinson said, adding he was planning to meet with prosecutors to have discussions with them.
The governor said he wanted to see judges and prosecutors make careful decisions regarding violent offenders who pose a continued risk.
“Whenever you’re looking at sometimes first time offenders in a violent crime the next question is are they held in custody pending trial, do they pose a continued risk to our community, or are they released?” Hutchinson said.
The expansion of the Intensive Supervision Program will make a difference by ensuring violent offenders on parole have officers checking in with them more frequently, the governor said.
Community correctional programming requires twp things, said Secretary of Arkansas’ Department of Corrections Solomon Graves.
“First is evidence-based rehabilitative programming, which we are committed to and which we will continue to be committed to,” Graves said. “But that effective supervision of offenders of parole and probation also requires that the state has adequate resources to provide for strict compliance with conditions of supervision. And there is a segment of our parole and probation population that is high risk, that have demonstrated a history of violence, that have demonstrated a history of gang affiliation. They need a little closer level of contact by our officers.”
This article was originally posted on Arkansas’ Hutchinson expands parole supervision in light of increase in violent crime