Dismang would like to remove mandatory parole requirements for all of the sexual offenses on the books in the state to ensure sex offenders can't slip through a loophole of pleading down to lesser offenses to get out of jail early.
"We need to make sure we have the punishment in place to deter that the best we can," he said.
Dismang volunteers with Child Advocacy Centers of Arkansas. During his time as a board member, he's seen numerous families affected by sexual abuse. He's also seen a number of families traumatized, he said, by the early release of abusers.
"I've had multiple parents call from all over the state that said thank you, because they felt like our system didn't take care of the children and didn't go far enough," Dismang said. "This is where my heart is. It's something I really believe in."
But what prompted his decision to draw up the resolution, completely not budget-related, during a fiscal session is the recent parole of David Kent Pierce, a Benton minister who was convicted of sexual indecency with a child. Pierce served about two years of his 10-year sentence.
"Once we heard of that, we felt like it was something we needed to take up, that these individuals make sure they serve the time that they need to and aren't back on the streets really being a threat," Dismang said.
Taking a look at the numbers over the past two years from the Arkansas Parole Board, a tally of convicted sexual offenders shows at least 600 have been approved for parole, while nearly 1,500 have been denied or deferred.
"It can be easy for parole to come early," she said, with pictures of crying children hanging behind her. "It can be easy, in fact, for sex offenders to not serve much, if any, time in jail."
According to advocate Kathy Findley, Executive Director of Safe Places, many sex offenders receive a mandatory parole before they've completed their full sentence, just like Pierce.
She believes the real problem is the Arkansas Parole Board is restricted in the discretion it can take with an individual offender's case. For most offenses, after an inmate has served a portion of his/her sentence they are mandated to receive parole. It is not discretionary upon the board's review.
"If we have a parole board, then they ought to have the ability and authority to do what they need to do to protect the community on a case-by-case basis," Findley said. "If we have a problem and we don't address it as soon as we know we have it, then what if it happens again? What if someone gets hurt?"
While Dismang would like to see the entire sexual offense parole system overhauled, he's had to pass off the legislation at the request of political leadership. A fellow senator who's not up for re-election, Senator Percy Malone, has filed his own resolution to address the issue, to avoid politics playing any role in its passage.
But the changes could be less broad than Dismang had originally hoped.
"We're actually going to narrow our scope, addressing only that charge present in Benton -- or sexual indecency with a child," Dismang said. "Hopefully, we'll put it into a committee and study it this summer and do a true revamping of the system. I believe it should have been passed in session, this session. I'm committed to doing everything I can, but at this time this seems like this is all people are willing to do."
According to Dismang, the only alteration likely to be approved this session is that one charge, which leaves over a dozen other offenses up for later review.
"That list should be taken a look at, the sexual felony list, and all of it should be included in the legislation to not be part of mandatory parole," he said. " To be honest, I'm a little disappointed that we aren't going to fully take it on this year."
Malone's resolution was voted on and approved in the State Senate on Thursday. It moves now to the House for a vote.