The Senate Bill 495 reportedly would end the parole for most of the serious crimes in Arkansas. This Arkansas bill intends to hold violent, repeat offenders accountable for most of their prison terms.The Senate Bill 495 was sponsored by Senator Ben Gilmore and Representative Jimmy Gazaway to end the parole for most serious crimes in Arkansas. Starting in 2024, this Arkansas bill will force violent, repeat offenders to serve 85% of their prison terms. For less serious crimes, offenders will have to serve 25% to 50%.
According to Millar, the Arkansas bill included how to determine what crimes would fall under the 25% to 50% with the help of the Arkansas Legislative Council and Arkansas Sentencing Commission in the future. In addition, the Arkansas Advocate, a non-profit organization, has a helpful classification of the offenses.
Oppositions to the Arkansas Bill
According to Langhorne, however, Senator Clarke Tucker has argued that although the state has one of the highest crime rates in the U.S., it also has one of the highest imprisonment rates. Therefore, Tucker believes that the Arkansas bill would not be of much difference.
Instead, Tucker pointed out that the states of Missouri and Texas have substantially reduced their population of prisoners and diminished their crime rates. Nonetheless, the Arkansas bill was approved 29-5 in the Senate with all Democrats, except for Senator Reginald Murdock, voting against it.