ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Democrat Chris Jones and Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. are all vying to be Arkansas’ next governor.
There are also four write-in candidates. Each candidate has a different approach when it comes to public safety and criminal justice in the state.
Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders released her public safety plan on Tuesday. It focuses on reducing violent crime and strengthening the parole system. Sanders declined an interview request.
Sanders’ plan includes investing in law enforcement, increasing prison capacity and mental health programming and enacting stronger sentencing legislation.
“Violent crime is on the rise and deadly, illegal drugs are flooding our communities, which is why as governor, I will close loopholes in our parole system, be an advocate for victims, support our men and women in law enforcement, and never defund the police.”Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Democrat Chris Jones put his plans for “The promise for a balanced conversation on gun violence and safety” and “The promise for reform of the criminal justice system” earlier this year. Jones told KNWA/FOX 24 that addressing crime and public safety is all about getting to the root cause of the issue.
“The more we provide education for our communities, and economic development, through jobs for individuals and communities, the better we are able to reduce the pipeline of folks who go into the criminal justice system,” Jones said.
Jones said his solutions to crime involve supporting law enforcement and emphasizing training and workforce development for former inmates reentering society. In addition, Jones said he would like to implement long-term solutions like working toward more fair cannabis laws.
“Those really low-level small amount crimes that folks get sentenced for, getting those folks out of the criminal justice system opens up the capacities that we need to open the beds,” Jones said.
Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. has a criminal justice reform plan on his website. Harrington told KNWA/FOX 24 he wants to hold police accountable for their actions.
“The people have given law enforcement officers the power to go out and enforce the laws, whenever they violate people’s rights that needs to be strictly punished, it’s not an indictment against or call to defund the police,” Harrington said.
Harrington’s criminal justice plan also includes bolstering prison education and expanding juvenile diversionary programs. He said he wants to create a commission between the Arkansas State Police and the public.
“We need to start looking out for our neighbors and we need to start building up more trust between our law enforcement officers and the community,” Harrington said.
Election day is Nov. 8.