JACKSON, MS – FWD.us Mississippi State Director Alesha Judkins issued the following statement today in response to SB 2795, also known as the Mississippi Earned Parole Eligibility Act, becoming law:
“Today would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of families, advocates, and lawmakers to begin to address the state’s prison crisis and restore hope to countless Mississippians. Hundreds of incarcerated Mississippians became eligible for parole today, and in the years to come, thousands more people will become parole eligible and be reunited with their families.
“The expansion of parole eligibility through SB 2795 more closely aligns Mississippi with other Southern states that have safely reduced their prison populations. Research has long demonstrated that long prison sentences do not reduce crime or make communities safer. With this reform, Mississippi finds itself in good company. The majority of states have implemented criminal justice reforms to reduce prison terms and expand release opportunities and have seen simultaneous decreases in crime rates and prison populations.
“The new law also offers an opportunity to address the racial disparities extreme sentences have on certain groups. We estimate that approximately two-thirds of the people who will be impacted by SB 2795 are Black men who are overrepresented in our state’s prison population.
“There is much more work to be done to address the state’s incarceration crisis, but this expansion of parole eligibility is a tremendous milestone in criminal justice reform efforts.”