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Keeping the Really Bad Ones In Prison: Gov. to Sign Criminal Justice Reform

JACKSON, Miss.–It’s about keeping you safe and saving you money at the same time. It took a large-scale task force to come up with a plan for criminal justice reform in Mississippi and Gov. Bryant plans to cap it off today by signing it into law.

“For months, I’ve had the privilege to serve on  a 21-member Mississippi Corrections and Criminal Justice Task Force which has studied and assessed our State’s criminal justice system from the top down,” said Rep. Andy Gipson, one of the chief sponsors of the bi-partisan legislation.

“When the Task Force started its work in the summer of 2013, we asked ourselves one question: How can Mississippi taxpayers get more public safety from every tax dollar we spend? Our 21-member group, which included legislators, judges, district attorneys, and local elected officials from the county supervisors’ association and the sheriff’s association met publicly for seven months, analyzing state and county data and reviewing research about what works to reduce drug use and crime in our communities,” said Gipson in an op-ed piece published this month on this website.

“The 19 evidence-based policy recommendations we developed, taken as a package, will save taxpayer dollars while making our streets safer.”

That includes putting non-violent offenders on house arrest, when possible, a move that some sheriffs and police chiefs did not care much for.

The bill also includes making sure violent offenders serve more of their sentences, strengthening drug courts to help offenders who are not dealers, only users, and some tougher penalties for those who are trafficking drugs.

The bill was expected to be signed at the state capitol at 10:30 Monday.

Meanwhile, legislators worked over the weekend to finalize the state budget, which was expected to wrap Monday, which is the deadline.

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