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Arkansas governor urges criminal justice panel to review sentencing guidelines


LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is urging lawmakers to take a new look at the state's sentencing guidelines to find ways to cut the disparities in jail time offenders may receive for the same crimes.

Hutchinson on Monday told a task force looking at the state's criminal justice system it should review the guidelines judges are given for sentencing offenders. The Republican governor said he believes the guidelines aren't being followed strongly enough and should be given more weight.

Hutchinson suggested lawmakers look at requiring judges and prosecutors to give reasons on the record if the guidelines aren't followed and allow review by appellate courts if a sentence is handed down outside the guidelines. Hutchinson told reporters he'd like to look at the issue in the 2017 legislative session.

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