House Corrections Committee and Public Institutions Committee Meets

This week, the House Corrections and Public Institutions Committee heard HB  1627, sponsored by Rep. Jean Evans (R-Manchester), that would establish guidelines for the shackling of pregnant female offenders. The Missouri Catholic Conference joined Campaign Life and the March of Dimes in supporting this bill. The legislation still allows for the restraints to be used in extraordinary circumstances for offenders. The bill was filed in response the tragic deaths of infants due to the shackling of their mothers. The committee took no action on the bill.

In other news, the House Corrections and Public Institutions Committee voted 9-0 to pass HB 1359, sponsored by Rep. Tom Hannegan (R-St. Charles). This bill sets up a procedure allowing for the early parole of geriatric inmates. As amended, the bill allows offenders who are 70 years of age, did not commit any other violent offense, and are serving a sentence of 50 years to receive a parole hearing upon serving 25 years of the sentence. The MCC supported the bill because of its efforts to rehabilitate the offender.