The Promise for Reform of the Criminal Justice System

Arkansas is in the top five of states for incarceration, has the fastest growing incarceration rate, and has the longest probation and parole in the nation. Black Arkansans, about 16% of the population, are incarcerated at four times the rate of White Arkansans. Crime is going up across the state, and law enforcement agencies are overburdened, particularly in rural areas. Rates of youth incarceration are also staggering: with the average youth incarcerated in Arkansas 10.5 months—4.5 months longer than the 6 months .

One common refrain described to address this problem is to increase the number of beds in prisons. And, while prisons should definitely have sufficient space and resources to safely house inmates, Chris Jones believes that we also need to direct resources to the root causes because reliance on incarceration does not work. We also need to improve mental health infrastructure and improve substance abuse infrastructure inside and outside of prisons.

Chris Jones also believes that the people working in the criminal justice system must be appropriately resourced to do their jobs well. This means adequate training, resources, and tools to ensure their safety and the best possible outcomes for the criminal justice system in general.

To invest in criminal justice reform, Chris Jones will:

  • Reduce incarceration and recidivism rates in Arkansas.

  • Work to alleviate root causes of incarceration, focusing on building infrastructure to address mental health and substance abuse

  • Work to provide the resources, tools, and training for those working in the criminal justice system to be adequately resourced to do their jobs.