Only Arkansas permits criminal consequences for nonpayment of rent — and it has enforced the law during the pandemic. Now, after ProPublica and ANNN investigated the practice, some legislators want to revoke the statute.
Hot Springs prosecutor Josh Drake called the state’s criminal eviction statute “cruel” and “unconstitutional.” Criminal charges against tenants falling behind on rent have continued, even as the pandemic has worsened.
Evictions in Arkansas can snowball from criminal charges to arrests to jail time because of a 119-year-old law that mostly impacts female, Black and low-income renters. Even prosecutors have called it unconstitutional.