In 2013, Mississippi created a corrections and criminal justice task force to determine the issues within its criminal justice system. The task force found that the state’s prison population had risen by 307% within the last 30 years. Mississippi currently has the 3rd highest incarceration rate in the country because 75% of its prison population consists of nonviolent offenders.
Starting in 2014, Mississippi passed its first reform. This legislation laid out eligibility requirements for potential parole and early release. Building on this success, Mississippi lawmakers have passed other reforms that include:
In 2020, Mississippi proposed legislation to help make prisons safer as well as help make more room in the overcrowded prisons. If passed, this bill would grant parole eligibility to certain prisoners who were originally ineligible and would get rid of ineffective amendments which cause ineligibility for parole due to certain crimes.
These reforms demonstrate Mississippi’s commitment to reducing recidivism and incarceration rates. And, following the passage of Mississippi’s eligibility requirements for potential parole in 2014, the prison population dropped by approximately 30,000 people, demonstrating great success. Despite this success, Mississippi’s incarceration rate is still extremely high. By eliminating mandatory minimums and implementing other reforms, Mississippi can help reduce its incarceration rate.
Identification of legislation should not be considered an endorsement of support of, or opposition to, such bills.