Board of Corrections votes to recommend to the Parole Board the release of 1,244 inmates due to COVID-19

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Board of Corrections voted unanimously Friday to invoke the expanded Emergency Powers Act and certify a list of 1,244 inmates to be eligible for release, pending the Parole Board’s decision.

Dina Tyler, the Director of Communications with the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC), said Friday the list of inmates is larger than usual because the requirement that inmates must spend at least six months in ADC before being considered has been suspended, which was authorized by Governor Asa Hutchinson’s executive orders regarding the public health emergency.

According to Tyler, all inmates under consideration have been convicted of crimes that are not sexual and not violent.

In order for the inmate to be released, according to ADC, they must be granted an early release by the Parole Board and must have an acceptable parole plan.

According to ADC, all inmates will receive a COVID symptoms screening before they are released and all symptomatic inmates will be tested for the virus.

ADC says no inmates who are known are presumed to be positive for the virus will be released into the community until they are medically cleared.

Tyler says the Parole Board will work with ADC to delay parole until the inmate is no longer contagious.

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