Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
August 23rd, 2018 • News

August 23, 2018

  • Some of the most important law enforcement jobs are parole and probation officers. They are also some of the most stressful, in large part due to the extraordinarily high caseloads of the 500 parole officers in Arkansas.
  • They work for the Department of Community Correction, which has seen more than its share of turmoil in the past couple of months. The department director was dismissed, and more than likely politics played a role in her firing.
  • She had asked for a funding increase so the department could hire additional officers, in order to bring down the average caseload from 147 to 129 cases per officer.
  • Her replacement has a plan to lower caseloads, but until I get further details I will not be convinced of its effectiveness.
  • He told legislators that he intends to stop counting parolees who have stayed out of trouble, and parolees who have had to go back to jail for a short period of time. This plan raises questions. At first glance, it appears to be an example of simply plugging in a new set of numbers. I need to be convinced that parole and probation officers have the resources they need to keep us safe.
  • They are responsible for monitoring 60,000 people, all of whom were convicted of a crime and all of whom are free to walk the streets. A recent study recommended that we add about 100 officers, to bring caseloads closer to the national average.
  • By the way, West Memphis has one of the lowest average caseloads in Arkansas. Each officer is responsible for 106 offenders. That compares to 192 cases per officer in northwest Arkansas. However, our caseloads are still way above other states.
  • State government pays for many worthy programs. Keeping us safe from criminals is at the top of my list.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from August 23, 2018