Sid Salter: Mississippi prison reform being emulated

By 1999’s election year, calls were widespread to relax the 85 percent rule because of the staggering increase in prison costs and the burgeoning prison population. The law was eventually amended in 2014 to make certain first-time, nonviolent offenders eligible for parole after serving 25 percent of their sentences.

In 2015, Mississippi also adopted the concept of “presumptive parole” which created a presumption that a prisoner would not be a menace to society or public safety, and would have to be released upon serving his or her minimum sentence, if the prisoner scored a high probability of parole based on established parole guidelines.

In other words, it took the politics and emotion out of the parole process. The Michigan Legislature is considering similar policies that the Michigan Department of Corrections estimates will save the state as much as $82 million.