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Governor signs law expanding parole eligibility in Mississippi

Gov. Tate Reeves speaks about his hopes for the state's continued economic growth during the...
Gov. Tate Reeves speaks about his hopes for the state's continued economic growth during the coronavirus pandemic after announcing the permanent appointment of John Rounsaville, background left, as director of the Mississippi Development Authority, during a news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Jackson, Miss. Rounsaville had been serving as interim director since 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Updated: Apr. 22, 2021 at 4:06 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed the Mississippi Earned Parole Eligibility Act into law Thursday.

Senate Bill 2795 was passed by both the Senate and House with bipartisan support before making its way to the governor’s desk. It opens up more opportunities for inmates in Mississippi to receive parole.

Reeves vetoed a similar bill last year, arguing it was well intentioned but went too far.

The new bill does not include habitual offenders, sex offenders older than 18, capital offenders, first- or second-degree murderers, human traffickers, drug traffickers or parole offenders.

Reeves says he struggled with the decision but ultimately passed it.

“I trust my Parole Board appointees to make wise decisions,” he said in a series of tweets. “SB2795 was not an easy call for me. But, at the end of the day, I believe it meets my standard for a measured approach, & with proper implementation, it can be a net positive for MS.”

Empower Mississippi, a group that were staunch supporters of the bill, issued a statement shortly after the passing.

“Since 2018, Empower Mississippi has focused much energy on fixing an ailing criminal justice system in Mississippi. Mississippi has the second highest incarceration rate in the nation, and it comes at a substantial cost to the state, with over $3 billion spent on corrections in the last decade and a looming Department of Justice investigation that could cost billions more.

Proponents of parole reform, including Empower, have argued that parole reform would mean the state could safely alleviate overcrowding by allowing individuals who pose very little threat to earn second chances and apply its limited resources to the individuals who pose the biggest threat. Parole eligibility itself creates an incentive for good behavior and rehabilitation in prison.”

You can read the bill in full below:

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