Mississippi has an incarceration crisis, driven in large part by its use of extreme sentences. In fact, 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. The coronavirus has only exacerbated this crisis, and a new FWD.us report estimates that nearly every single person currently in MDOC custody is likely to become infected with the virus, and 186 people will die if no action is taken to reduce the prison population. Excessively long sentences weaken Mississippi’s families and workforce and waste tax dollars since they also do nothing to make neighborhoods safer.
When it comes to Mississippi’s extreme habitual laws, #WeAllPay.