Grassroots group backs a push to reform state’s criminal justice system

As committees continue considering bills to pass before their Tuesday deadlines, Americans for Prosperity-Mississippi (AFP-MS) has endorsed HB 1352, the Criminal Justice Reform Act, and its companion legislation, SB 2927, the Second Chances, Back to Work Act. These landmark bills, which are being considered in their respective Judiciary committees, improve many aspects of the state’s outdated criminal justice system and help reacclimate former inmates who have paid their debt to society as they return to their communities.

AFP-MS State Director Trey Dellinger issued the following statement:

“Although Mississippi has made some progress in recent years, we still need further reform. Our system still ensnares too many low-level and nonviolent offenders in a cycle of incarceration, making us less safe and misusing taxpayer resources. Our justice system should help people transform their lives – not trap them in a downward spiral that makes them less productive and more dangerous. Though not perfect, this legislation creates taxpayer-friendly alternatives to jail for people who aren’t a threat to public safety and gives returning citizens the tools needed to succeed once they’re back in our communities.”

Background:

HB 1352, the Criminal Justice Reform Act, as well as SB 2927, the Second Chances, Back to Work Act, would curb the state prison population by reducing the punishment, and use of taxpayer resources, on low-level, non-violent offenders. Below are the elements included in the bills:

  • Treat first- and second-time drug possession as a misdemeanor.
  • Broaden eligibility for problem-solving courts.
  • Eliminate lengthy sentencing enhancements from decades-old convictions.
  • Let Mississippians work while their low-level crime cases get processed.
  • Give people who have committed low-level crimes a second chance by helping them get back to work.
  • Lower occupational licensing barriers for those seeking to reenter the workforce.
  • Save tax dollars by focusing supervision resources on those who need it the most.

American’s for Prosperity Mississippi Press Release

1/4/2018