JACKSON, MS – FWD.us Mississippi State Director Alesha Judkins issued the following statement today addressing the beginning of the 2024 Mississippi legislative session:
“As Mississippi lawmakers begin a new legislative session, one of their top priorities must be addressing the state’s dangerously high prison population. Mississippi has the highest imprisonment rate in the country – it’s hurting Mississippi families and communities and hindering our economic growth, and it is not making us any safer. This year, lawmakers have an opportunity to advance data-driven criminal justice policies, like continuing the expansion of parole, which can be a critical tool in safely reducing the prison population while strengthening our state’s workforce and improving public safety.
“Mississippi voters want our leaders to take action to address the broad reach of the state’s criminal justice system. By a 9 to 1 margin, Mississippi voters said they would be more than likely, rather than less than likely to vote for a candidate who supports criminal justice reform, nearly 90% – support allowing people to earn their way home through the parole process. Voters clearly endorse policies that reflect decades of data that shows incarceration is one of the most expensive and least effective public safety strategies.
“As lawmakers return to Jackson with the goal of strengthening our state’s workforce, improving public safety, and saving taxpayer dollars, they can accomplish each of these goals by advancing commonsense criminal justice reform. We urge them to prioritize policies that will safely reduce the prison population while making communities across Mississippi stronger.”