Uncovering the Harsh Reality: A Brutal Jail Death Shines Light on Arkansas’ ‘Punishing’ Justice System


“Arkansas Criminal Justice System Fails Marshall Ray Price: The Start of a Two-Part Investigation”

Newsweek’s recent reports have brought to light troubling cases of justice system failures in Arkansas, particularly in its detention facilities. In light of a federal lawsuit that resulted from Larry Eugene Price’s death, the subsequent report has brought attention to Marshall Ray Price’s case and the inadequate response to his tragic death inside an Arkansas county jail. Confronting the recurring issues of harsh punishment for minor offenses, prolonged periods of incarceration, and inadequate protection for vulnerable inmates, these reports reveal an alarming truth about Arkansas’ criminal justice system.

Late at night on December 8, 2022, Marshall Ray Price tragically passed away hours after being transferred to a hospital from an Arkansas county jail. Despite the devastating outcome, a full year has passed without any individual being held accountable for Price’s death. Law enforcement and prosecutors claim that Marshall Ray Price, convicted of trafficking an herb, died following a boxing match with another inmate. The autopsy presented gruesome details, including a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and a ruptured spleen. The investigation’s rapid conclusion and the absence of criminal charges, however, raise several doubts about the overall justice and integrity of the process.

In speaking with inmates, local residents, officials, and legal experts across Arkansas, Newsweek uncovered a pattern of systemic flaws in the state’s criminal justice system. Marshall Ray Price’s case exemplifies the stark reality of a system that disproportionately penalizes non-violent offenses, imposes prolonged pre-trial incarceration, and fails to safeguard the well-being of inmates. Additionally, the inadequacy of the system is further exposed by the lack of access to essential healthcare within correctional facilities.

In the wake of these disturbing revelations, Arkansas’ position as the fifth-highest state in per-capita incarceration rate in the U.S. becomes all the more unsettling. In light of recent legislative decisions, such as the “Protect Arkansas Act,” concerns about the fairness of the justice system are increasingly pronounced. While Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has underscored her commitment to criminal justice reform and victim advocacy, critics continue to raise questions about the impact of these measures on Arkansas’ incarcerated population.

Amidst these controversies, the public’s perception of the justice system in Arkansas is shrouded in uncertainty. Newsweek’s detailed account of Marshall Ray Price’s tragic fate underscores the need for a diligent reevaluation of the state’s penal and justice systems. The collective call for accountability and institutional reform is clear. It remains to be seen if meaningful changes will be implemented to address the long-standing deficiencies that have come to light.

In the second part of this investigation, we will delve deeper into these issues and continue to shed light on the complexities of Arkansas’ criminal justice system. Stay tuned for the complete continuation of this investigative series.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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