JACKSON, MS – FWD.us Policy Manager Laura Bennett issued the following statement on The Criminal Justice Reform Act, which is being considered in the Mississippi Senate this week:
“Today, we join advocates and faith leaders from both sides of the political aisle in urging the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker Gunn and members of the state legislature to strengthen and pass the Criminal Justice Reform Act.
“The state’s bloated incarceration rate doesn’t make Mississippi any safer, but instead rips apart families and communities, drains the state’s limited financial resources, and prioritizes punishment over rehabilitation. With the nation’s third-highest incarceration rate and taxpayers spending over $360 million a year to fund the prison system, it is no surprise that nearly 80 percent of registered voters say it is important to reduce the state’s jail and prison population.
“With the Criminal Justice Reform Act, Mississippi’s state leaders have an opportunity to lead the conversation on criminal justice reform by taking a fiscally responsible and commonsense approach to the state’s crippling incarceration rates and barriers to re-entry. The Criminal Justice Reform Act would begin to address decades of overly punitive laws that send too many people to prison for too long and make it too difficult to reenter the workforce when they return home. The bill could be further strengthened to address one of the key drivers of Mississippi’s incarceration rate: its outsized supervision population. Now is the moment for state leaders to take action and we are urging them to deliver Mississippians the bold criminal justice reforms they deserve and want.”