Created with Sketch.

We All Pay: Mississippi’s Harmful Habitual Laws

Mississippi Leaders Can Act Now to Reduce Extreme Sentences and Save Lives

A string of tragic and avoidable deaths in Mississippi prisons could soon be compounded by the COVID-19 crisis: this FWD.us report estimates that nearly every single person currently in Mississippi Department of Corrections custody is likely to become infected with the virus without bold, immediate action from Governor Reeves and state officials.

Mississippi has an incarceration crisis, driven in large part by its use of habitual sentences.



Long prison sentences have become the norm in Mississippi. First-time drug possession can land you in prison for 20 years. Stealing tools from a garage can result in 25 years behind bars. On top of these already extreme sentences, people can have extra years, decades, or even life imprisonment added to their sentences if they have ever been convicted of crimes in the past because of the state’s habitual laws.

Learn how these extreme penalties keep families apart and hold the state back.

Mississippi needs
criminal justice reform now.

Mississippi voters across the political spectrum support bold criminal justice reforms. In fact, four out of five registered voters believe it is important to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated, and only three percent want to spend additional tax dollars on jails and prisons.

Issue Center

Your Deep Dive:
Criminal Justice Reform in Mississippi

  • Reports
  • Coronavirus

Data Shows COVID-19 in Mississippi Prisons is a Public Health Crisis

Keep reading

  • Policy & Reports
  • Criminal Justice

We All Pay: Mississippi’s Harmful Habitual Laws

  • Stories
  • Criminal Justice

The Houser Family

  • Stories
  • Mississippi

The Hollins Family

Keep reading

Governor Bryant Opens Mississippi Summit on Criminal Justice Reform

  • News
  • Criminal Justice

Mississippi Prisons are no Place for a Pandemic

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Governor Reeves Decision to Veto SB 2123

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement Urges Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves to Sign Parole Expansion Bill…

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

Mississippi Lawmakers Urged to Improve and Advance Legislation to Safely Reduce Prison…

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Governor Reeves’ Failure to Consider Release for Incarcerated People…

  • Press Statement
  • Coronavirus

FWD.us Statement on Projected Increase of COVID-19 Cases in Mississippi Prisons

  • Press Release
  • Coronavirus

FWD.us Urges Mississippi Officials to Protect Incarcerated People Amid Confirmed Positive COVID-19…

  • News
  • Mississippi

FWD.us Statement on Mississippi’s Crossover Deadline and the Legislation Advancing to Limit…

  • Press Release
  • Criminal Justice

Latest Data Shows Mississippi Now Ranked As Second Highest Imprisoner in the…

  • News
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Newly Announced Department of Justice Investigation Into Mississippi Prison…

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Recent Deaths at Mississippi Prison Facilities

  • Press Release
  • Mississippi

New Report Reveals Source of Long Prison Sentences and Huge Costs to…

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on the Passage of “The Criminal Justice Reform Act”

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Senate Passage of “The Criminal Justice Reform Act”

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on “The Criminal Justice Reform Act”

  • Press Release
  • Criminal Justice

ICYMI: Clergy for Prison Reform Held Policy Summit for Criminal Justice Reform

  • Press Statement
  • Mississippi

FWD.us Statement on Mississippi Governor’s State-of-the-State Address

  • Press Release
  • Criminal Justice

NEW POLL: Mississippians Strongly Support Ambitious Criminal Justice Reform

  • Press Release
  • Criminal Justice

Editorial on need for continued efforts on criminal justice reform

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s Veto of SB 2841

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Ceremonial Signing of Key Mississippi Criminal Justice Reform Bill

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Signing of Mississippi House Bill 387

  • Press Statement
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us Statement on Mississippi House Bill 387

  • Press Release
  • Criminal Justice

FWD.us to lead expanded line of work, hires criminal justice reform expert