FWD.us Statement on Ceremonial Signing of Key Mississippi Criminal Justice Reform Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant held a ceremonial signing for HB 387. FWD.us Senior Director of Criminal Justice Reform Zoë Towns issued the following statement:
“We applaud Governor Bryant and Mississippi legislative leaders for taking bold action to bring meaningful reforms to Mississippi’s criminal justice system. Their leadership will help put formerly incarcerated Mississippians back to work faster, will keep Mississippi communities safer, and will keep Mississippi families together while protecting taxpayer dollars. We are proud to stand with leaders in Jackson today, along with local and national partners, as Governor Bryant ceremonially signed HB 387 into law.
“We’re greatly encouraged that Mississippi continues to pursue common sense solutions to reform its criminal justice system, including the progress made over the last several years to safely reduce crime and incarceration. Much more work remains to safely drive down the state’s incarceration rate, but, if implemented soundly, the legislation passed will make a substantial impact. HB 387 is designed to help reduce recidivism by prohibiting the use of jail for nonpayment of fees and fines, allowing supervision officers to use video call technology to conduct check-ins with minimal disruption to employment, and expanding retroactive parole eligibility for hundreds of people convicted of nonviolent crimes. Importantly, HB 387 also lays the groundwork for further reforms by requiring the collection of critical data on jail populations and juvenile detention centers.
“It was a privilege for FWD.us to advocate for this bill this session, alongside Americans for Prosperity, Right on Crime, Clergy for Prison Reform, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Office of the State Capital Defender, among many others. In addition to celebrating the signing of HB 387, we also urge Governor Bryant to sign SB 2841 into law. That legislation builds on HB 387 in offering long overdue corrections to Mississippi’s reentry laws, refocusing them on what works to promote public safety, employment, and family unification. We’re eager to see this bill signed into law and look forward to celebrating more victories for all Mississippians.”