JACKSON, MS – FWD.us Mississippi State Director Alesha Judkins issued the following statement today urging Mississippi lawmakers to quickly pass criminal justice reforms.
“Our prison system has been in a state of crisis for years, which is why it is imperative for Mississippi lawmakers to improve and expand parole and habitual reforms this legislative session to safely reduce the dangerously high prison population.
“Over the past five days, we have learned three additional people died behind bars, adding to the more than 100 Mississippians who have died in Mississippi Department of Corrections custody since December 2019. Lawmakers can end the state’s reliance on a failed public safety strategy that prioritizes locking Mississippians up for decades–and often for life–with few opportunities for release.
“Lawmakers should seize this opportunity to finish what they started last year and pass parole and habitual reforms that save lives, reduce wasteful prison spending, and improve public safety. Right now, Mississippi holds more people in prison per capita than all but one other state, which costs taxpayers upwards of $360 million each year.
“While Mississippi has failed to act, our neighboring states have implemented commonsense reforms that expand parole eligibility and limit the use of habitual penalties and at the same time have safely reduced their prison population and crime rate. Now it’s time for Mississippi to do the same.”