Today the Mississippi Senate passed HB 1352, the Criminal Justice Reform Act. The bill includes provisions that will expand drug courts in Mississippi and reduce barriers to employment for people leaving the state’s prison system. Sponsored by Representative Jason White, the bill allows for more people with nonviolent offenses to apply for a one-time expungement to improve their chances to find a job upon reentering the community.

Empower Mississippi President Grant Callen thanked the Mississippi Senate for supporting the criminal justice reform measure. “We are encouraged by the legislature’s support for HB 1352. These reforms are common-sense measures that will reduce the rate of recidivism in our state, help more people find meaningful work, and create safer communities for everyone. We want to thank Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, Chairman Briggs Hopson, and Senator Juan Barnett for their work on this legislation.  We are optimistic that the legislature is committed to continuing the process of reforming our criminal justice system. Empower Mississippi remains committed to supporting these reforms that will remove barriers to work for the people of our state while protecting public safety and taxpayers.”

The bill now heads back to the House of Representatives, where they will have until Friday, March 22 to either concur in the Senate’s amendments or send the bill to conference.

Empower Mississippi Press Release