Bills to Change Parole, Probation System Moving in Both Chambers

Both the House and Senate this week passed bills that would create alternatives to prison for nonviolent probation and parole violators. HCS HB 1525, sponsored by Rep. Gary Fuhr (R-St. Louis), and SS SCS SB 699, sponsored by Sen. Jack Goodman (R-Mt. Vernon), would create a new system in which offenders on parole and probation can earn credits for every month they do not violate the terms of their release.

The bills would also allow for short stints in county jail (as opposed to going back to prison) for violations of parole or probation and if parole was revoked, offenders would first receive a 120-day “shock” treatment in prison rather than serving their full sentence.

The bills stem from recommendations in a 2012 report prepared by a bipartisan working group charged with finding ways to reduce corrections spending, which now totals about $660 million annually.

The bill has enjoyed wide support from lawmakers, partly because  the recommendation came from a working group consisting of prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges and county officials. Both bills will be debated in the opposite chamber when the Missouri General Assembly convenes after spring break.

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