(The Center Square) – Arkansas Department of Corrections Secretary Joe Profiri is out after a 5-2 vote by the Board of Corrections Wednesday, a DOC spokesperson confirmed to The Center Square.
The board fired Profiri after suspending him last month. Board members are locked in a battle with state officials over who has authority over the secretary and the addition of nearly 500 prison beds.
Profiri, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Attorney General Tim Griffin and law enforcement officers from around the state held a news conference in November criticizing the board for not adding the new beds.
The Board of Corrections fired back in a lawsuit against Sanders over a law that gives the governor the authority over the secretary.
“Secretary Profiri failed to provide the board with information requested regarding the safety of his plan and he failed to consult with the Compliance Division as to operational adequacy,” the board said in the lawsuit.
A Pulaski County Circuit Judge sided with the Board of Corrections and issued a preliminary injunction halting the law, which gave the board the authority to fire Profiri.
Sen. Ben Gilmore, R-Crossett, called the board “out of touch” and “reckless” in a post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
“This unelected and unaccountable board initially suspended and has now fired Secretary of Corrections Joe Profiri, a reformer and man of integrity whom Arkansas is lucky to have,” Gilmore said. “We will continue to fight for victims and the safety of Arkansans and bring accountability to this tyrannical board.”