Mandatory Minimum Sentences Won’t Make Mississippi Safer

JACKSON, MS – Mississippi State Director Alesha Judkins issued the following statement today addressing bills that advanced out of committee that would require mandatory minimum sentencing for some offenses, which would further increase the state’s dangerously high prison population and hurt public safety:

“Mississippi currently has the highest imprisonment rate in the country; the prison population continues to increase and it is not making our state safer. Proposed mandatory minimum bills that advanced out of the Senate Judiciary B committee would significantly increase the required length of sentence for multiple offenses, at a huge cost to Mississippi taxpayers without improving public safety.

“Mandatory minimums impose harmful one-size-fits-all sentencing on individuals and remove judicial discretion in sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentences also remove incentives for people to participate in rehabilitative programming in prison, which contributes to the overall safety of all people who live and work in them.

“Lawmakers should continue to listen to the overwhelming majority of Mississippi residents who support criminal justice reforms that would truly make us safer and not just increase the population of our nearly overcrowded prisons. It is critical that lawmakers reject proposed legislation that would further worsen our incarceration crisis without making our communities safer. All Mississippians want safer communities, but increasing incarceration is the most expensive and least effective path to getting us there. Lawmakers should instead focus on proven, data-driven strategies that actually keep us all safe.”

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