Mo. — A new Missouri law could free hundreds from mandatory prison terms.
Governor Mike Parson signed the bill yesterday saying it would bring reform to Missouri’s criminal justice system.
Criminal defense attorney, Adam Woody, says the new law would impact those only with non-violent crimes that have been in the Missouri Department of Corrections before.
This is meaning it’s not for first time offenders.
According to Adam Woody, the bill will reduce the mandatory time that only certian offenders, such as drug and low-level property crimes, must serve in the department of corrections.
The law will lessen the percentage of time offenders must serve before being elligible for parole.
Woody says the new law is a big first step for criminal justice reform, “I think people started realizing what is incarceration truly doing for society and for these offenders in particular and that trend sort of is sweeping across the country to focus more on rehabilitation rather than incarceration”
Judy Henderson, an advocate for criminal justice reform says the law won’t let just anyone out of prison and said “he’s not saying open the door and let everybody out. I know they’ll have to go through a screening process just like they do with any parole hearing or any type of release. parole board will do their due diligence and do the investigating and make sure that they are citizens – that theyre offenders that will obey the law and not just take this for granted.”
Woody says the new law can save lots of taxpayer money saying, “people will be astonished at how much it actually is to have somebody incarcerated in the department of corrections I think the numbers are either 30 or 35,000 dollars per year just to incarcerate someone. so this measure is going to no doubt save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars per year”
Mandatory minimums for violent crimes will still be in place for crimes like murder, assault, rape and others.
The law doesn’t go into effect until August 28.