BAXTER COUNTY, Ark. -- With all of the prison and jail overcrowding issues that have been in the news lately, there have been several people contacted me (Sheriff) at the Baxter County Sheriff's Office with suggestions that if the Judges would stop sending people to prison for Marijuana that would help ease the situation. There are approximately 14,500 beds in the Arkansas Department of Corrections with another 2500 convicted inmates waiting to go to prison when a bed becomes available. While the Marijuana issue certainly draws debate, a 'Poll' was put on the Baxter County Sheriff's Website concerning Marijuana and Arkansas Prison incarceration. Although not scientific, the results may surprise you.
The question on the Poll was: "What percentage of people in Arkansas Prisons are there because of being convicted of Marijuana?"
Of the 1019 people who responded to the Poll, the number and percentage of voters are as follows. The correct answer will be at the bottom.
Greater than 50% - 251 people voted or 24.6% of the total votes
50% - 55 people or 5.4%
40% - 131 people or 12.9%
30% - 144 people or 14.1%
20% - 105 people or 10.3%
10% - 80 people or 7.9%
5% - 76 people or 7.5%
1% - 48 people or 4.7%
Less than 1% - 129 people or 12.7%
The correct answer is less than 1/10 of 1%.
The interesting results of this nonscientific Poll is that more than half of the respondents thought that the answer was 30% or greater. Only 129 people out of 1019 got the answer correct.
While the subject of Marijuana legalization may be a topic or debate, it is certainly not the cause nor contributing to our prison and jail crisis.