JACKSON, MS – FWD.us Mississippi State Director Alesha Judkins issued the following statement today in response to the one-year anniversary of SB 2795, also known as the Mississippi Earned Parole Eligibility Act, becoming law:
“We are extremely concerned by our state’s rising prison population driven by a declining parole grant rate. Parole is an evidence-based policy that safely expands second chances, curbs taxpayer spending, and allows people to return to their communities, reunite with their families, and re-enter the workforce.
“Today marks the one-year anniversary since SB 2795 – the criminal justice reform that increased the number of people eligible for parole and which was advanced by a supermajority of the legislature – became law. Unfortunately, the rapidly declining parole grant rate is not only blunting the impact of the new law but also denying meaningful opportunities for release to those who were parole eligible before the new law.
“On this anniversary date, the opportunity before us is to return to one of the most effective tools we have to safely address Mississippi’s extremely long sentences and to realize a better return on our public safety spending.
“Early implementation of the law was encouraging with the Mississippi prison population declining to its lowest point in more than 20 years. However, over recent months, the prison population has started to grow once again and is higher now than it was the day SB 2795 went into effect.
“We urge Mississippi leaders to continue the work to fully implement SB 2795 and offer parole as a meaningful second chance for incarcerated Mississippians to safely return home.”