Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

MS Legislature Considers Cutting Time

Posted by Maggie on February 25, 2008

In Mississippi, the legislature is considering a bill that could cut back on time served for nonviolent offenders.

House Bill 729 would provide an opportunity for early parole for offenders whose crimes did not include an attempt to cause bodily harm. They would have to serve 25 percent of their sentences before the state Parole Board could consider their requests. Currently, they must serve 85 percent.

About 9,000 prisoners would be affected by the legislation, House Corrections Committee Chairman Bennett Malone said. The bill would alleviate prison crowding and save taxpayers millions of dollars, he added.

“Right now, we’ve got young people in prison for smoking marijuana,” Malone, D-Carthage, said. “I know people who have been locked up who are not criminals. We can do something different to punish them for crimes that are nonviolent.”

Alternatives could include expanding house arrest or mandating that offenders serve one year of their sentences along with probation, he said.

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