Work release numbers have more than doubled. With the prisoners out in public, some folks may be concerned. But officials with the program say it not only benefits inmates, but also the community they work in. They're assuring neighbors they should feel safe.
"We don't do any violent crimes here in the work release program," said work release supervisor James Brooks. "They're the best inmates in the state. They have the best classification in the state. They've worked their way. They earned this right to go to work release."
The city of Springdale works with the program and says its residents benefit from their work.
"Once they get a job, the state starts charging them room and board so they're having to pay for their own incarceration rather than you or I pay for it with our tax revenue," said city administration director Wyman Morgan.
The program tells us the inmates are still closely monitored. Brooks says in the 11 years he's been in charge of the program, only two inmates have walked off the job but they were both caught within a couple of hours.