It is unusual for individuals that generally are on opposite sides of corrections issues to come together to support a bill. But that was the case this week when the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee heard HB 1525, sponsored by Rep. Gary Fuhr, (R-St. Louis County). HB 1525 is legislation that is being put forth by the Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections. This bipartisan group was appointed by Gov. Nixon last summer to find ways to reduce corrections cost in the state while improving public safety.
Prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges, sheriffs, as well as representatives from crime victims groups and the Department of Corrections all testified in support of the bill. Some of the main provisions of the bill include using short-term jail sanctions for technical violations, earning credits to reduce an offender’s time of supervision and mandatory placement in a 120-day program for a revocation of probation or parole. Supporters noted that this was an important step for Missouri to be smarter on crime.
The MCC joined the chorus of bill supporters by noting that HB 1525 embodied Catholic teaching on restorative justice by holding offenders accountable, addressing the harm to victims and involving the community in restoring the offender. No organization spoke in opposition to the bill.
The House Committee plans to vote HB 1525 out of the committee next week.