The growing crime rates represent a serious problem to Arkansas because the number of crimes committed in the state is constantly growing. In actuality, the growth of crime rates refers to practically all types of crimes, including both violent crimes and property crimes. In this respect, it should be said that the number of crimes in the state has increased substantially from 11,904 in 2000 to 15,506 in 2006 that constitutes about a quarter of the growth of the number of crimes for six years. At this point, it should be said that the number of murders and nonnegligent manslaughters has increased from 168 in 2000 to 205 in 2006. At the same time, the number of forcible rape crimes has increased from 848 in 2000 to 1,308 in 2008. In addition, the growth of the number of robberies is also very significant. In fact, the number of robberies in the state has increased from 2,001 in 2000 to 2,766 in 2006. Finally, the number of aggravated assaults has increased from 8,887 in 2000 to 11,227 in 2006. In such a situation, practically all violent crimes has increased substantially.
The similar trend could have been observed in regard to the property crimes within the last six years, which total number has increased from 98,115 in 2000 to 111,521 in 2006. In fact, such a speed of the growth of the number of crime is really disturbing. Speaking about burglaries, it should be said that the number of this crimes has increased from 21,443 in 2000 to 32,042 in 2006 that constitutes almost a third of the growth. The growth of the larceny thefts is not so significant since the number of larceny thefts has increased from 69,740 in 2000 to 72,016 in 2006, though in 2005 the number of these crimes has exceeded 75,000. Finally, the number of motor vehicle thefts has increased from 6,932 in 2000 to 7,284 in 2006. At the same time, it should be said that the number of probation population in 2006 has increased insignificantly from 30,735 at the beginning of the year to 31,508 by the end of the year (See Table 1).
Parole has been a component of corrections in Arkansas for over 60 years. The State Penitentiary Board was originally established through Act 1, 1943. Act 50 of 1968 reorganized the State Penitentiary as the Arkansas Department of Correction and created two major boards. The Board of Correction and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Act 937 of 1989 abolished the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Board of Community Rehabilitation to create a Board of Parole and Community Rehabilitation. Prior to reorganization the Board of Pardons and Paroles consisted of five members who were citizens of the State, appointed by the governor to staggered five year terms. The Board initially met three days each month at various units within the Department of Correction. The Board interviewed inmates to determine who should be placed on parole and the prescribed conditions of parole.
Additionally they made recommendations to the Governor on applications for pardons and executive clemencies.
The Commission on Community Rehabilitation consisted of six members who were also required to be citizens of the State. This body was appointed by the governor to staggered four year terms. The Commission met at least once a month and was primarily responsible for reviewing and certifying alternative service programs, screening files of qualified offenders’ and recommending expungement of records for eligible offenders who successfully completed a prescribed program. In 1993, legislation revamped the Board of Parole and Community Rehabilitation. The Board was renamed The Arkansas Post Prison Transfer Board. Subsequent legislation in 1993 and 1997 expanded the Board to full time positions. In 2005, SB 383, renamed the Post-Prison Transfer Board to the Parole Board. The move was designed to alleviate confusion on the part of the public about what the board does. In 2007, legislation made all 7 board positions full-time and expanded the support staff to include an Investigator and an Information Technology position.