© 2024 KUAF
NPR Affiliate since 1985
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Conflict surrounding the State Board of Corrections, looking back at the U.S. economy in 2023


Arkansas State Board of Corrections and Gov. Sanders

A very tense week ended with even more tension with the Arkansas State Board of Corrections, Attorney General Tim Griffin and Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Governor Sanders has been in conflict with the state board over plans to expand prison beds in Arkansas for several weeks now, asking for additional space to be provided, but the seven-member board has called for more details on how the state plans to fund and staff the expansion. That same board is also autonomous in its decision-making power regarding correctional facilities, according to the state constitution.

The tension thickened on Thursday after the board of corrections voted in a majority to suspend with pay the Secretary of Corrections Joe Profiri, who answers to the board. They also filed a lawsuit, claiming that Act 185 of 2023 — a law that would change the language of the constitution to read that the Secretary of the Corrections shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor — is unconstitutional and undermines its authority.

On Friday, Attorney General Tim Griffin filed suit against the Board of Corrections for failing to comply with the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, and later that day, a Pulaski County judge issued a temporary restraining order in favor of the board’s lawsuit.

Judge Patti James wrote in issuing the temporary restraining order that “the injury alleged is substantial and relates to the Board’s constitutional authority to supervise the Department of Corrections and the Secretary.” She also said that “absent relief, the board will suffer immediate and irreparable harm because Defendants caused additional beds to be added to inadequate prison facilities.”

You can read more about the lawsuits, the restraining orders, and all the details from our partners at Talk Business & Politics.

Ending 2023 with no recession? Economists say, "Yes."

Last week, the Federal Reserve did not increase interest rates at its monthly meeting. In an interview with Talk Business & Politics, Mervin Jebaraj, an economist with the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business, said that in the summer of 2022, with the rapid rise in interest rates, many economists predicted the U.S. would be in a recession at some point in 2023. However, he says the 2023 economy did stick the soft landing, even if it might have taken an extra step or two after landing.

“So that's where we are heading into 2024,” Jebaraj said. “We stuck the first landing, you know, we'll see if that one or two more balancing steps next year stick as well or if they're really big steps and we ended up in a recession”

Jeberaj also said that the National Association of Business Economics released an outlook earlier this month stating that 3 out of 4 panelists in the survey predicted a less than 50% chance of recession in the coming year.

“So that is a much higher percentage of economists that were not predicting recession than ever before,” he said. “The Federal Reserve's own projections-- They're no longer projecting a recession as well. I think of Chairman Jerome Powell's comments this past week. He's indicated that he's expecting there not to be a recession although, you know, he gives plenty of caveats to give himself an out if there is one, but right now looking at where we are here in December of 2023. We certainly beat expectations.”

You can see that full interview at Talk Business & Politics.

Stay Connected
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Related Content