State Rep. Kathy Webb of Little Rock, who’ll be Joint Budget co-chair in 2011, talked recently to the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods about Gov. Mike Beebe’s coming corrections reform initiative, supported by a Pew study. Webb is chairing Beebe’s task force on the issue.

Prisons are overstuffed. Part of the problem is the steady return (as Webb testified from family experience) of revolving door drug offenders. We can’t afford to build more beds or even open all the beds we’ve built. There are anomalies aplenty in sentencing. Unbelievably, according to Webb, we lack the necessary prison and other personnel to speedily release hundreds of inmates who are eligible to leave prison and who could make room for offenders stacked up in county jails.


Kathy Wells, a former newspaper reporter and community organization stalwart, provides a detailed report on Webb’s remarks: