SID SALTER: Mississippi ahead of curve in sentencing disparities

While the national debate continues over the influence of race and geography over prison sentencing trends, Mississippi is well ahead of the national curve on broader sentencing disparities….

…Broader state sentencing reforms made dollars and sense for Mississippi taxpayers. But local core beliefs about public safety, crime and punishment that are inexorably tied to race and geography are far more complex and will be difficult to change — if they change at all.

In Prentiss County, Mississippi, as in Dearborn County, Indiana, there are many who like the idea that criminals know that their counties are places where citizens believe in stiff punishment and long sentences for drug dealers and other criminals they perceive as threats to their communities — and who aren’t much interested in changing that perception.

Clarion Ledger
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