A bad enough backup, the Pulaski County lock-up closed to most non-violent felony arrests for six weeks this spring, So the question of how to handle the problem posed to Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson.
The Governor hopefuls both say more drug-rehab programs are needed, but Ross, says he favors prison reform.
"I think our prison system should be reserved for violent offenders” said Mike Ross.
“Let me tell you burglary is a serious issue in Arkansas and if somebody commits 3 or 4 burglaries, it might just be a property crime but I want them to go to prison” said Asa Hutchinson.
After the joint appearance before mayor and city managers, Ross said his Republican rival took an unfair swipe.
"It continues to be his pattern, it's just plum silly. It's trying to take something I say and turn it into something else."
"My interpretation was that he made the case we should only be locking up non-violent offenders. That's what I heard" said Hutchinson.
"That does not mean that some non-violent criminals do not need to be in prison, of course they do" said Ross.
With the legislature poised to take up jail overcrowding, perhaps in a few weeks, public safety will remain a front burner issue through November.
Ross also emphasized his support of raising the state's minimum wage through a ballot initiative.
Hutchinson maintained he'd rather see the legislature take it up next year, something he said would happen in 2015 if elected.
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