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Michael Allen Willbanks 
Member since Aug 1, 2015

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Re: “Arkansas's prison population, and related expense, is exploding

Before the Board of Correction replaced the Director of the Dept of Community Correction back in 2013 for allowing one murder on his two-year watch, he had implemented Act 570 so well it saved the state $202.4 million, as reported in the ADC and DCC 2013 Annual Reports. Since his replacement, the new (prison staffer turned director) Director has accumulated five (5) murders on her watch - but no one in either the Board of Correction or the tenuously caring Arkansas Legislature has cried out for her impeachment. Within one year of the new director's placement, parole numbers increased 38% to over 60,000, jail backups (parolees in county jails waiting on a prison bed for violating their technical conditions of parole, like not paying a fine or missing a meeting) from April to June 2014 increased over 2000%, and costs for parole supervision were through the roof. Then we elected us a new Governor. We had high hopes for him and, in our own little way, helped in getting him elected. Surely, we assumed, his conservative values-driven work ethic would fix the prison problem. NOPE. Although Gov. Hutchinson replaced leadership in every other agency, he retained the failing leadership on the Board of Correction and the two agencies it oversees: ADC, ACC. As the governing organization, the Arkansas Board of Correction is responsible for the failure of the corrections system in Arkansas. Over the past two decades, that Board has been responsible for a system that has languished as it failed to provide taxpayers an ROI, failed to improve the citizens placed under its charge, and created an unhealthy diet of bulging prisons, fat budgets, and failing programs. Moreover, the same individuals who now are coming to the reentry table as the experienced pioneer have led that Board for all those years. Wisdom teaches that those whose thinking got one into trouble cannot be those whose thinking gets one out of trouble. Therefore, the current Board of Correction should be replaced with a 6-year, term-limited, bipartisan, reentry-focused membership that seeks to achieve a return on the investments placed upon them by the public’s trust. This new board should comprise membership from the following disciplines: philanthropy (1), behavioral/addictive health (1), mental health (1), employers (1), faith community (1), crime/corrections (1), and offender reentry services (1).
Mike Willbanks
Chair, Life After Prison Ministries

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Michael Allen Willbanks on 08/01/2015 at 12:49 PM


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