Criminal Justice Proposals Advance in House Panel

MGN Online
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Jackson, Miss.

Mississippi lawmakers are moving forward with a bill designed to make the criminal justice system more efficient and less expensive.

Among other things, House Bill 585 says anyone convicted of a violent offense would be required to serve at least 50 percent of a sentence, and anyone convicted of a nonviolent offense would have to serve at least 25 percent.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson calls these "true minimums." He says judges often give long sentences now because of uncertainty about how long an inmate will stay in prison.

The bill also would give judges more flexibility to give alternative sentences, such as ordering treatment for drug users.

It cleared the Judiciary B Committee Thursday, moving to the House Corrections Committee for more work.