Bryant Signs Criminal Justice Overhaul Bill

By  | 

Jackson, Miss.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill designed to make the criminal justice system more efficient and less expensive.

House Bill 585 becomes law July 1. Supporters say it could save the state $266 million in prison expenses, spread over 10 years.

Anyone convicted of a violent offense will be required to serve at least 50 percent of a sentence, and anyone convicted of a nonviolent offense will have to serve at least 25 percent.

Judges will get more flexibility to impose alternate sentences, such as treatment for drug users. For the first time, Mississippi law will specify which crimes are classified as violent, for sentencing purposes.

Bryant was surrounded by law-enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and legislators as he signed the bill Monday in the state Capitol rotunda.