Arkansas prisons chief says vacant positions a challenge

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' top prisons officials say the correction department is struggling with a high number of vacancies as it tries to address a rash of violent disturbances in recent months that have included assaults on guards by inmates.

Arkansas Department of Correction officials said Wednesday that more than 300 of the roughly 4,700 positions at the state's prisons remain vacant. Department Director Wendy Kelley and other officials appeared before a legislative panel to discuss several violent incidents, including attacks on three guards at two facilities on the same day last month.

The hearing came a day after the department announced a series of security upgrades in response to the disturbances. Kelley says the department is considering asking lawmakers to approve longer-term changes, including naming a prosecutor to handle prison cases statewide.

© 2017 Associated Press


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