The politics of parole, Planned Parenthood, and the election process were on full display on Sunday morning’s Capitol View program on KARK Ch. 4.
State Sen. David Sanders (R-Little Rock) and State Rep. Reginald Murdock (D-Marianna) participated in a political roundtable to discuss the hot-button issues that have dominated legislative headlines this week.
The discussion began involving the case of Darrell Dennis, a Little Rock man with multiple convictions and parole violations who has been charged in the capital murder of Forrest Abrams.
When asked if there is a problem with state laws, including sentencing reforms passed in the 2011 legislative session, or funding of the prison and parole system, Sen. Sanders said “neither.”
“It’s actually a parole problem. It goes to the heart of the administration of parole in Arkansas, which is administered by the Department of Community Correction,” said Sanders.
“He [Dennis] fell through the cracks. DCC didn’t follow their own policies and procedures. The fact is he shouldn’t have fallen through the cracks. He should have been revoked, he should have been sent back to prison and he wasn’t. I think that’s what we’re going to get to the heart of as the legislature takes a look at this through our interim committees and now the administration is now taking a look at it.”
Rep. Murdock agreed that somebody or some agencies dropped the ball.
“I think a full-scale investigation is underway. I had a meeting with the Governor. He’s opened up all the lines to checking this out to see what happened,” Rep. Murdock said.
While he sees this as a parole situation, there could be more to examine.
“I think there’s probably some other people involved that need to be held accountable as well because obviously with that many repeat offenses something should have happened before now. Certainly, we’re taking it very seriously,” he added.
Sanders emphasized that he did not view the situation as one that requires more money to fix.
“You can bring up the issue of funding. I believe it’s a philosophical problem. I believe its a leadership problem and I think there are probably some people who are employed today who don’t need to be,” Sanders said.
Murdock was hesitant to close the door on the need for more funding for the agencies involved.
“There is some correlation between caseload, workload and some of this happening. Certainly, that’s not an excuse. We’re not making an excuse, but before we lay total blame on what we’re going to do and cast here, we need to make sure we continue the investigation,” said Murdock.
Rep. Murdock, Sen. Sanders and co-hosts David Goins and Roby Brock also discussed former State Rep. Hudson Hallum’s (D-Marion) sentencing deal last week in his voter fraud case as well as the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood’s request to be a health insurance guide for the state.
Sanders said Planned Parenthood injects needless controversy into the health insurance guide program; Murdock said the group meets the eligibility requirements and shouldn’t be discriminated against.
You can watch their full interview and exchange below.
Political activist Glenn Gallas also appeared on this week’s Capitol View. He discussed Arkansans Against Big Government’s effort to qualify a referendum initiative to repeal the private option health insurance plan.