Department of Correction Announces Additional Safety Measures

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (News release) -  At the direction of Governor Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) is announcing an action plan to address safety concerns within the state’s prison system following incidents at several maximum security facilities. 

•    Action Item #1 - Continue the renovations of recreation areas and begin the upgrade of security equipment in entrance buildings, and other areas, throughout the Department.       

•    Action Item #2: Construct controlled access points inside the entrances to general population barracks at all maximum security facilities (East Arkansas Regional, Varner, Cummins, and the Maximum Security Unit) to increase their security. 

•    Action Item #3: Convert approximately 400 existing cells throughout the Department, currently used as general population housing, into Restrictive Housing for inmates found guilty of disciplinary violations. This is will increase the capacity of the Department to house inmates found guilty of disciplinary violations which pose a direct threat to the safety of persons or a clear threat to the safe and secure operations of the facility.

The Department will begin the process of reallocating existing resources for the implementation of these action items. 

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement in support of ADC’s action plan, saying, “I appreciate Director Kelley’s swift action per my request for options to better safeguard our prison facilities and reduce the violence within. Based upon my discussions with her, these are items that should be started immediately, while we consider additional and longer-term options in the weeks and months ahead.” 

Benny Magness, Chairman of the Board of Corrections, released the following statement in support of this action plan, “these items will, without a doubt, increase the security of the Department of Correction. The Board of Corrections looks forward to their implementation and to the discussion of additional items with the Department and the Governor.”

ADC Director Wendy Kelley released the following statement regarding this action plan, “the mission of the Department of Correction is to provide a safe and humane environment for staff and inmates. This plan will increase the safety in our maximum security facilities. We look forward to the opportunity to continue our work with the Board of Corrections, Governor’s Office, and General Assembly on strengthening the Department’s ability to carry out its mission.”

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