In a rare bipartisan effort, the Missouri General Assembly this session passed a bill modifying laws relating to probation, parole and conditional release.
Sponsored by Rep. Gary Fuhr (R-St. Louis), HB 1525 was known as the Justice Reinvestment Act. At the heart of the measure is an attempt to reserve limited prison space for the most serious offenders. Under the bill, individuals on probation or parole can reduce their time of supervision by following the rules. Probation officers can send those who violate supervision rules to short stints in county jails instead of returning them to prison. More serious violations could result in a 120-day “shock” sentence instead of enforcing the original, longer sentence.
While not as far-reaching as some had hoped, this bill was the culmination of a joint, bipartisan working group appointed by Gov. Nixon last summer to find a way to reduce prison costs while maintaining public safety. The bill is estimated to save state coffers at least $165,000 a year.
The MCC supported the measure for its restorative justice components and its efforts to reduce the prison population. Gov. Nixon is expected to sign the bill.