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February 26, 2008

The interesting softer turn in Mississippi parole practices

Proving yet again that the most interesting and dynamic sentencing stories emerge from states, this local article discussed a notable development in Mississippi:

The Mississippi House voted Monday to ease the state’s truth in sentencing law.

By a vote of 69-52, the House approved legislation that would exempt non-violent offenders from the law, which now requires all people convicted of a felony to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before being eligible for parole. The legislation has passed the House in previous sessions, only to die later in the process. It now goes to the Senate.

The bill would allow nonviolent offenders, such as those convicted of burglary and embezzlement, to be eligible for parole after serving 25 percent of the sentence. People convicted of selling marijuana and prescription drugs also would be eligible for early parole; other drug dealers would not.

Corrections Committee Chairman Bennett Malone, D-Carthage, said too many young people are being ruined for life because of the sentences they are given. He cited a ase in which a person was sentenced to 15-20 years for a first-time marijuana offense. "You might as well shoot that person," Malone said. "He will be institutionalized. ... There are better ways and cheaper ways to solve this problem." He cited home monitoring devices and other work programs....

Malone and others pointed out that the budget for the Department of Corrections has skyrocketed since the truth in sentencing law was passed. He said 6,300 inmates would be eligible for early parole if the legislation becomes law, though it would take the Parole Board literally years to hear all those cases.

The bill was hotly debated for about 80 minutes with Republicans primarily opposing it and Democrats supporting it, though a surprising number of members from each side voted against the majority of their party.

As I like to say, everyone in state government these days is now coming to understand that, when it comes to sentencing realities and politics, it's the prison economy, stupid.

February 26, 2008 at 09:23 AM | Permalink


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Posted by: CASSANDRA CUMMINGS | Apr 19, 2008 4:15:55 PM

I'm a Texas Student
Someone is trying too cash in on their retirement and hold on to their Prison jobs. In addition, what would we do without Criminals? It is a harsh reality that without Crime we'd have no Jobs! Then we'd have nothing to talk about...
On a serious note I totally agree in releasing non offenders on shorter sentencing it would benefit the tax payers and relieve overcrowding. ..

Posted by: Curious4064 | May 29, 2008 3:55:19 AM

Texas Student
Remember the movie "Shaw Shank Redemption" Well, this is a classic example of "Institutionalized".
The first time offenders are encarcerated for 5 to 10 years for a drug offense is an injustice and a "Flaw" in the our Judicial System. I don't have any faith that it will change anytime soon as long as the Republicans have the Voice....Perhaps we need too reconsider who we vote for....One more for the road, In this Country Animals have more rights than humans. No offense too anyone but, its harsh reality and so very Sad.

Posted by: Curious4064 | May 29, 2008 4:12:30 AM

The inmates the parole board gives parole are back in less than a year. You must give them drug treatment. They never get clean because they continue to do drugs in jail. They must learn how to not do drugs.

Posted by: jean | Jun 14, 2011 1:37:22 PM

I think the United States give too much time time to drug offenders verses sex offenders, those who do bad things to children and murders them. Too many people in prison as far as low-level drug offenders. If offenders are given drug treatment in prison and after being released from prison I don't think a lot of them would return. As mentioned in the above earlier, offenders who do drugs in prison then released the cycle will continue. These prisons are a strong burden on the economy. The whole penal system needs to be reviewed then maybe it will a help to our economy. Then when these non-violent offenders are released they should be able to find jobs without their non-violent records preventing them from working. I know of lots of people after being released from prison who wants to work but can't because they have a felony on their record. What a shame. They have no other choice but to go to the "old" lifestyle. Give them a chance too.

Posted by: Linda Ward | Aug 15, 2011 10:50:50 AM

I agree The time given to drugs is awful, you are better off killing someone than to sell them drugs, you get a lot less time. If I sell you drugs you have a choice whether to buy them or not but if i kill you, you have no choice, so what is wrong with this picture. A lot of drug offenders get in and can't get out and/or they sell to support their own habit, we need to find a way to help them. My son was set-up on video in his house selling drugs to a girl(who had got caught) so for her to go FREE she set him up. Don't get me wrong , HE WAS GUILTY and knew better, he sold enough to support his use and the county wanted to make an example and charged him with 2 counts of meth sales and gave him 60 years with 10 suspended. That is wrong, He has always been a hard worker just got to hanging with the wrong crowd, He knew better but from what i understand when on drugs you only think of the moment not long term. I tried to help but the D.A. wouldn't change it, it was about election time, they said if we didn't take the plea agreement they would make it 120-300 years and i was scared, because they always get what they want. I hired a attoney but it didn't help just cost me a lot of money

Posted by: janice | Jan 28, 2012 12:02:44 PM

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