Mississippi prisons numbers down; parole and probation cases up - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi prisons numbers down; parole and probation cases up

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Thousands are locked up in Mississippi every year. But Mississippi had a big drop in prison population back in 2014. It has stayed, more or less, steady since then.

The Mississippi legislature passed sweeping prison and sentencing reforms back in 2014.The current Department of Corrections commissioner noted that the state can't "keep doing things the same ole way".

Commissioner Marshall Fisher said probation and parole officers are taking on three times as many cases as average. That's because business as usual has changed.

"The reason those numbers are so high is because more people are going back into the community," said Fisher. "You're going to continue to see those numbers rise, I believe."

The reason is 2014's House Bill 585. It encouraged non-violent offenders to be given reduced sentences and be put into rehabilitation programs, when possible. Fisher wants to add to that and ensure the educational programs will keep them out.

"They have a better chance of succeeding in the outside world if they have a skill that they can take to the street and turn into taxpayers rather than tax burdens," noted Fisher. "And that's what we want."

Fisher's concern is the turnover rate for the corrections staff. He's hoping to offer better pay so the good ones won't leave for other opportunities.
But he's not asking the legislature for more money this year.

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