JACKSON, MS – FWD.us Mississippi State Director Alesha Judkins issued the following statement today in response to the recent State of the State Address from Governor Tate Reeves:
“Governor Reeves delivered a message to Mississippians during his State of the State address encouraging us to hold onto hope that life will return to normal. No one needs that hope more than the men and women behind prison walls. While Mississippi’s worsening prison crisis was worryingly absent from the governor’s address, criminal justice reform must be a priority for both our governor and our legislature. Mississippi currently has the second-highest imprisonment rate in the country, and since December 2019, more than 100 Mississippians have died in prison. The state’s mass incarceration crisis is costing taxpayers millions of dollars and costing far too many Mississippians their lives.
“There is bipartisan support among legislators and broad support among voters for reforming Mississippi’s habitual and parole laws, and the data clearly shows reforms make economic sense for the state. Lawmakers are prioritizing these reforms and have introduced bills aimed to help address the state’s habitual penalties and expand parole. We need meaningful policy changes that will help reduce our state’s dangerously high prison population. We know that long sentences do not make us safer, and it is time to invest in policies that will strengthen public safety and help communities thrive.
“Mississippi cannot afford to wait another year for criminal justice reform, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have already expressed support for meaningful policy changes that will help move the state in the right direction. Legislative leaders, including the Lieutenant Governor, have expressed that reform is a priority. We urge Governor Reeves to support these bipartisan efforts and extend hope to all Mississippians.”