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Board of Corrections makes parole changes, launches probe

by David Harten | June 21, 2013 at 1:21 p.m.

The Arkansas Board of Corrections has begun and investigation into the Probation and Parole Division of the Department of Community Corrections after "recent incidents that occurred in the Little Rock area," the board said in a Friday statement.

The investigation comes alongside several changes in the division's policy concerning parolees, set to go into effect immediately.

These changes come three days after a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed that a man suspected in a recent murder of a Fayetteville man in Little Rock had committed multiple parole violations over a number of years. The suspect, Darrell Dennis, 47, had 10 pending felonies and 4 1/2 years of parole violations on his criminal record.

The six policy changes include guidelines that the Department of Community Corrections may not release a parolee if he's being held on any charge while awaiting a revocation hearing and that any parolees who have been charged with any felonies or violent or sex-related misdemeanors must be jailed and a hearing must be sought into deciding whether to revoke their parole.

In addition, any parolees who have missed two or more parole hearings will be jailed and will be subject to a revocation hearing, and the Department of Community Corrections must give priority and speed up the admission of higher-risk offenders into their Technical Violator Program.

Another change will also be that the department will find open jail space in another jurisdiction when the jail holding a parolee must set free an offender who has an existing parole hold.

Along with those changes, the board also stated that all requests for revocations and denials must now be fully documented in the offender's case file.

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