ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas prison officials have approved the early release of approximately 800 inmates as a safety measure because of the new coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, May 13.

On Tuesday, May 12, 300 inmates were released, according to Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) Chief of Staff Solomon Graves.

Governor Asa Hutchinson authorized the early release (Executive Orders 20-06 and 20-16) due to “the public health emergency.”

As of April 30, 1,243 state inmates were eligible for consideration by the Parole Board.


  1. Be granted early release by the Parole Board
  2. Be approved by ADC Director Dexter Payne
  3. Have an acceptable parole plan

All inmates approved for release will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. All symptomatic inmates will be tested for the disease. Inmates who test positive, or are presumed to be positive, will not be released until they are medically cleared, according to the ADC.