Early paroles possible in budget crunch

A face-off between Democratic House leaders and Republican Gov. Haley Barbour over how much to spend on prisons has made the MDOC budget one of the most highly politicized of the session.

But these latest moves by Epps to pare the nonviolent prison population underscore the complexity of a debate that often is oversimplified.

Both of these efforts are expected to advance regardless of how the budget battle shakes out.

Shannon Warnock, chairman of the Mississippi Parole Board, said members already have begun reviewing the denied parole requests.

“Our mindset is we will make an attempt to parole offenders who are ready for release, prepared to be successful in society and do not pose a threat to public safety,” she said.

Warnock said individuals could have been denied parole for a variety of reasons. In many cases, she said, inmates are told they will be reconsidered if they participate in a GED, vocational training or alcohol and drug program.