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Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders requests Arkansas Corrections Board Chairman’s resignation



Little Rock, Arkansas – A significant conflict has emerged in Arkansas between Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Benny Magness, the Chairman of the Arkansas Board of Corrections. The dispute centers around the handling of severe staffing issues within the state’s prison system, leading to a dramatic request and a stern response from the governor.

The controversy began when Magness requested Governor Sanders to activate the National Guard to help fill critical staffing gaps in the Division of Correction. Specifically, Magness sought the deployment of 138 National Guardsmen to work in the Maximum Security and Tucker Units, as well as other state prisons. This move was aimed at reactivating beds at the Tucker re-entry center due to the pressing need for additional manpower in the prisons.

Governor Sanders, in a letter released on Friday, sharply criticized Magness’ request, labeling it a “political stunt.” She firmly stated her opposition to involving National Guard personnel in the prison staffing crisis. Instead, she urged the Board to reinstate Secretary Joe Profiri and to implement his staffing plan without delay.

In her strong-worded letter, Sanders emphasized, “After 27 years, it is time for you to stand out of the way of progress and let someone actually focused on the safety of Arkansans take your place on the board.” She accused Magness of caring more about his power than the safety and welfare of the state’s residents.

Sanders highlighted the progress made under Secretary Profiri’s leadership. Since he took office, vacancy rates have decreased by over 20%. Additionally, the Board has recently approved nearly 300 beds at the Tucker Unit. The governor claimed these bed reactivations have been successful, despite ongoing staffing challenges.

Despite the governor’s call for his resignation, Magness has expressed his intention to complete the remainder of his term, which extends for another two years. This declaration from the Arkansas Department of Corrections spokesperson underscores the complex and ongoing nature of the conflict between the state’s leadership and the corrections board.

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