2018 Criminal Justice Reform Legislative Agenda

Here are our 2018 legislative proposals.

SPECIAL PROSECUTOR PROVISIONS AND RACIAL IMPACT ANALYSIS

The ACLU of MS advocates for the creation of a statutory process for the selection of a special prosecutor, especially in cases where a law enforcement officer involved shooting has occurred. Special prosecutors have traditionally served as a safeguard against unfair trials and adds a level of credibility and trust to our criminal justice system.

The criminal justice system in Mississippi has a disproportional impact on people of color. Historically, laws creating changes in the criminal justice system overlook this disparity. The ACLU of MS proposes legislation to ask for a racial disparity impact analysis for each piece of legislation affecting changes in the criminal justice system. This analysis will serve as a valuable tool to inform decision makers and stakeholders of the potential disparate impact of any legislation impacting our criminal justice system.

WRITTEN CONSENT TO SEARCH VEHICLES AND POLICIES FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT BODY CAMERAS

Often times, drivers don’t know that they can deny consent to police officers when stopped by the police. The ACLU of MS is again proposing legislation (HB 655) to ensure that drivers understand their constitutional right to say no to a request to search by requiring written consent with a simple disclosure. This will cover instances when an officer doesn’t have a warrant, is not making an arrest, or does not have probable cause. Written consent improves policing as well as protects public safety and civil liberties. 

Police body cameras have the potential to serve as a check against the abuse of power by police officers. However, without statewide guidelines in place for their use, body cameras present a potential invasion of privacy and lack of accountability and transparency. The ACLU of MS’ legislation (SB 2530, SB 2373, SB 2283) does not mandate that all Mississippi law enforcement officers be equipped with body cameras, but it ensures that law enforcement agencies do so within a framework of standardized policies.


Here are the Criminal Justice Reform bills we're tracking this legislative session:

Support

HB 60 - an act to amend section 47-5-173, Mississippi Code of 1972, to remove the requirement that an inmate be accompanied by a correctional officer or a law enforcement officer when he or she is granted emergency leave due to sickness or death in the offender's family; to provide, in all cases where an offender is granted leave, that the commissioner or his designees shall determine when a security escort is deemed necessary; and for related purposes.

Description: Emergency leave for certain offenders due to death/sickness in family; revise security escort requirement.

Our Position: This bill will allow MDOC to authorize emergency leave without escort. Someone granted temporary leave to attend a funeral or other exceptional life event should be able to do so with the dignity of not being accompanied by an officer if MDOC makes the determination that one isn't necessary.

HB 94 - an act to prohibit employers from inquiring either orally or in writing regarding an applicant's criminal history; to provide exceptions; and for related purposes.

Description: Employment application form; prohibit criminal background information from being asked on.

Our Position: These measures will remove the criminal background section on an application for employment, reducing the risk of discriminating against formerly incarcerated individuals, thus giving them a fair chance at the employment process.

HB 205 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to authorize expungement for a felony that is not classified as a crime of violence; and for related purposes.

Description: Expungement; authorize for nonviolent felony convictions.

Our Position: This bill will allow those convicted of non-violent felonies and those who are rehabilitated to obtain jobs and function in society without the weight of their conviction hindering them.

HB 240 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the list of felonies that may be expunged; and for related purposes.

Description: Expungement; revise list of felonies that may be authorized for.

Our Position: This bill will allow those convicted of non-violent felonies and those who are rehabilitated to obtain jobs and function in society without the weight of their conviction hindering them.

HB 241 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to authorize a court upon petition to expunge certain nonviolent felony convictions; to ban criminal history checks as part of the preliminary job application process except as required by law; to authorize an income tax credit for taxpayers employing persons who have been convicted of a felony and have been unemployed for six consecutive months immediately prior to being employed by such taxpayers; to provide the amount of the tax credit; to limit the amount of the tax credit that may be claimed in a taxable year; to authorize any tax credit claimed but not used in any taxable year to be carried forward for five consecutive years; and for related purposes.

Description: Expungement; authorize for certain nonviolent felony convictions.

Our Position: This bill will allow those convicted of non-violent felonies and those who are rehabilitated to obtain jobs and function in society without the weight of their conviction hindering them.

HB 276 - an act to amend section 23-15-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that a person who has committed a nonviolent disqualifying crime as provided in section 241, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, shall have the right to have his or her vote restored two years after completing all of the sentencing requirements; to amend section 23-15-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, to conform to the provisions of this act; to bring forward section 23-15-151, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides for the removal of voters convicted of voter fraud or disenfranchising crimes from the statewide elections management system, for the purpose of possible amendment; and for related purposes.

Description: Right to vote; restore to people who committed nonviolent disqualifying crimes upon meeting certain requirements.

Our Position: These bills will put in place a process to restore the right to vote to certain individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes. We supported this as a means of both criminal justice reform, and restoring equality to all Mississippians.

HB 295 - an act to authorize the issuance of a hardship driver's license to a person whose license has been suspended as a result of being out of compliance with an order for support; to require a person to establish proof of hardship; to amend section 63-1-43, Mississippi Code of 1972, to establish a fee for a hardship license and provide that a person holding a hardship license may only drive to work and religious services; to amend section 63-1-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that the term of a hardship license shall be four years; to amend sections 63-1-5 and 93-11-157, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes.

Description: Driver's license; authorize issuance of hardship license to persons who have their licenses suspended as a result of being out of compliance with order for support.

Our Position: The criminalization of poverty perpetuates poverty, and counterproductive license suspensions are a clear example. This bill will allow hardship waivers be issued for people who can't afford to make child support payments.

HB 387 - An act to provide that incarceration shall not automatically follow the nonpayment of a fine, restitution, or court costs; to provide that the aggregate total of the period of incarceration imposed pursuant to this section and the term of the sentence originally imposed may not exceed the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for the offense; to amend sections 99-19-20, 99-37-7 and 47-1-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity to the preceding sections; to amend section 47-7-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that an otherwise ineligible inmate for parole shall be eligible for parole if an inmate has not been convicted of committing a crime of violence, drug trafficking or as a habitual offender and he or she has served at least 25% of his or her sentence; to require the joint legislative committee on performance evaluation and expenditure review to conduct a one time census of jail populations throughout the state; to create the Mississippi sentencing disparity task force; to appoint the members to the task force; to amend sections 47-7-27 and 47-7-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that the number of prior revocations rather than the number of alleged technical violations shall be considered for purposes of revocation sentencing; to amend section 99-19-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise sentencing of certain offenders as habitual offenders; and for related purposes.

Description: Re-entry council; implement certain recommendations thereof.

Our Position: This bill will prohibit city, county, and circuit courts from incarcerating or detaining a person because of inability to pay. Being poor is not a crime, and no one should have to face jail time simply because they can’t afford to pay fees and fines. This legislation also will allow parolees to have visits by their parole officers at their job, instead of missing work. 

HB 438 - An act to amend section 41-29-147, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the definition of second and subsequent offense for certain crimes; to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the list of felony offenses which may be expunged; and for related purposes.

Description: Felony expungement; authorize for first time offenses.    

Our Position: This bill will provide an opportunity for those who were convicted as a first-time offender to be given the chance to petition for an expungement of their record. One indiscretion should not affect a person for the perpetuity of his/her life.

HB 462 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the age for expunction of certain felonies; to amend section 21-23-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, to conform to the preceding section; and for related purposes

Description: Felony expungement; revise age.

Our Position: This bill will allow individuals to petition the court for an expungement of felony records committed before an individual turned 35. We support this bill because one youthful indiscretion should not affect a person for the rest of his/her life.

HB 462 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the age for expunction of certain felonies; to amend section 21-23-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, to conform to the preceding section; and for related purposes

Description: Felony expungement; revise age.

Our Position: This bill will allow individuals to petition the court for an expungement of felony records committed before an individual turned 35. We support this bill because one youthful indiscretion should not affect a person for the rest of his/her life.

HB 471 - an act to create a task force to address the disparity of african-american males in the judicial system; to specify the duties of the task force; to provide for the membership of the task force; and for related purposes.

Description: Task force to address the disparity of African-American males in the judicial system; create.

Our Position: This bill will create a task force to address the shameful fact that Black people in Mississippi, as in other states, are arrested and incarcerated at a higher rate than white people and at a disproportionate rate respective to the Black population of Mississippi. The Magnolia State incarcerates Black people at a rate that's 3.5 times the rate of white people. African Americans account for 37% of the state’s population, but 65% of its prisoners.  

HB 515 - an act to provide that a nonviolent offender who is incarcerated by the department of corrections shall have his or her sentence reduced by a certain percentage if the person passes subjects of the Mississippi end-of-course subject area testing program; to amend sections 47-5-138, 47-5-142 and 47-7-3.2, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity to the preceding section; and for related purposes.

Description: Nonviolent offenders; authorize reduction of sentences for passage of end-of-course subject area tests by the offenders.

Our Position: This bill will allow nonviolent offenders the opportunity to reduce their sentences after meeting certain criteria and passing subject area tests, thus affording the opportunity for individuals who no longer pose a threat to society to be released from prison.

HB 561 - an act to amend sections 21-23-7 and 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise expunction of certain convictions; and for related purposes.

Description: Expunction, revise.

Our Position: This bill will allow for expungement of minor traffic offenses for young adults, and it will expand the felonies that qualify for expungement.

HB 614 -  an act to amend section 47-7-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that any offender who has committed a capital offense shall be eligible for parole after serving a certain period of his or her sentence and after completing his or her case plan; to bring forward section 47-7-3.2, Mississippi Code of 1972, which pertains to the minimum time offenders convicted of violent crimes must serve before release, for purposes of possible amendment; and for related purposes.

Description: Inmates convicted of capital offenses; provide parole eligibility after certain requirements are met.

Our Position: Opening the door for individuals convicted of capital offenses to be released on parole will help to provide more rehabilitation opportunities, versus incarcerating individuals indefinitely.

HB 637 - n act to amend section 47-7-3.2, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that any eligible offender who has committed a nonviolent crime or violent crime on or after July 1, 1995, shall not be released by the department of corrections until after he or she has served no less than twenty-five percent of his or her sentence for a nonviolent crime or fifty percent for a crime of violence; and for related purposes.

Description: Mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed by offenders; revise which offenders are eligible for.

Our Position: This bill will allow for early release of certain offenders, thus reducing prison populations. This type of legislation helps to reduce over-incarceration through sentencing reform.

HB 638 -  an act to amend section 47-7-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that an offender who has committed a crime of violence on or after July 1, 1995, but before July 1, 2014, may be paroled by the parole board if the sentencing judge authorizes the offender to be eligible for parole consideration after the offender has served a certain number of years of his or her sentence; and for related purposes.

Description: Violent offenders, certain; may be paroled by Parole Board if sentencing judge authorizes parole consideration.

Our Position: This measure will expand those eligible for parole, thus reducing prison populations and allowing those convicted to reenter into society.

HB 640 - an act to amend section 47-5-139, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that if an inmate was not sentenced to life imprisonment for capital murder and he or she has reached 65 years of age and has served a minimum of 15 years of his or her sentence, then such inmate is eligible for earned time allowance; and for related purposes.

Description: Earned time allowance; revise which offenders are eligible for.

Our Position: This bill will allow certain elderly people incarcerated at MDOC to qualify for earned time allowance, and thus, it will help to reduce our prison population. The individuals affected by this bill are not a threat to the public. This bill is fiscally responsible and humane.

HB 641 - an act to create the "halfway house grant program act"; to provide a fund for such program in the state treasury; to provide that the fund shall be utilized by a nonprofit organization to offer support to the incarcerated who are near completion of their sentences; to require the fund be utilized to implement certain objectives to assist such offenders; to provide that the department of corrections shall be the administrator of the fund; and for related purposes.

Description: Corrections; authorize to administer the "Halfway House Grant Program."

Our Position: This bill will provide funds to any nonprofit organization that focuses on providing support to offenders and their families in the effort to aid reentry into society. Creating reentry opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals greatly reduces the risk of recidivism.

HB 642 - an act to amend section 47-5-555, Mississippi Code of 1972, to require the Mississippi prison industries to pay wages at the federal minimum wage rate to inmates who are used for labor; and for related purposes.

Description: Mississippi Prison Industries; require to pay inmates federal minimum wage for inmate labor.

Our Position: This bill will mandate that the Mississippi Prison Industries pay prisoners federal minimum wage for labor done while incarcerated. Prisoners should be guaranteed basic worker’s rights. Paying prisoners minimum wage gives them an opportunity to provide for families, make restitution payments or other fees, and become rehabilitated by learning a skill and have a source of income.

HB 645 - an act to require the department of corrections to provide conjugal visitation for any eligible married offender who is committed to the custody of the department of corrections and to provide certain definitions; to amend section 47-5-95, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity to the preceding section; and for related purposes.

Description: Conjugal visits; require Department of Corrections to provide for married inmates.

Our Position: This bill will allow married inmates to be given conjugal visits with their spouses. We support any bill that restores certain basic human rights to those convicted of crimes. Prisoners should not be denied their rights by virtue of their imprisonment.

HB 646 - : an act to require the department of corrections to implement an extended family visitation program for eligible offenders who are incarcerated by the department; and for related purposes.

Description: Department of Corrections; require implementation of an Extended Family Visitation Program for eligible offenders.

Our Position: This bill will implement an extended family visitation program in state prisons. Prisoners with families and children deserve the right to stay in contact with them.    

HB 655 - an act to require law enforcement officers to obtain written consent from a person before subjecting such person to a voluntary search; to provide that this section only applies to voluntary searches where there is no legal basis for a search, and for related purposes.

Description: Voluntary search; regulate for those who are not under arrest.

Our Position: We support written consent requirements that protect law enforcement without impeding police work, and protect citizens’ constitutional rights to refuse an unwarranted search.

HB 696 - an act to require a law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant before using a cell site simulator device to collect information from a communications device; to authorize a cell site simulator device to be used without a warrant when it is necessary to prevent loss of life or bodily injury; to amend sections 41-29-701 and 41-29-513, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes.

Description: Cell site simulator device; require law enforcement agencies to obtain warrant before using.

Our Position: This bill will require law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before they can use a Cell Site Simulator device, a device that can be used to intercept or collect data used by cell phones. This bill will protect privacy rights of citizens and help hold law enforcement officers accountable.

HB 720 -  an act to create a new code section that provides a court, when determining the least onerous conditions of release, shall impose financial conditions of release upon a defendant only when no other conditions will ensure a defendant's appearance in court; to provide that if such financial conditions are imposed for release, a court shall first consider an unsecured bond that is set at an amount that takes into consideration a defendant's ability to pay; to amend sections 21-23-8 and 99-5-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity to the preceding section; and for related purposes.

Description: Bail; provide imposition of by courts, under certain circumstances, when no other conditions will ensure defendant's court appearance.

Our Position: This bill will return our pretrial system to the way it should be -- one in which money bail is a last resort to ensure court appearance. Pretrial liberty should be the rule, not the exception that is reserved for people with wealth.

SB 2036 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that a conviction for possession of precursor chemicals may be expunged; and for related purposes.

Description: Possession of precursor chemicals; allow conviction to be expunged.

Our Position: This bill increases access to second chances by making more people eligible to expunge prior mistakes from their record. Second chances are an indispensable piece of successful reentry. 

SB 2112 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to allow expunction for certain offenses of burglary and receiving stolen property regardless of age; to raise the age for expunction for nonviolent felonies from 21 to 22 and to revise the definition of violent felony; and for related purposes.

Description: Expunction; revise for receiving stolen property and burglary.

Our Position: This bill increases access to second chances by making more people eligible to expunge prior mistakes from their record. Second chances are an indispensable piece of successful reentry. 

SB 2118 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the expunction of certain felony convictions; and for related purposes.

Description: Felony conviction; revise expunction of.

Our Position: This bill increases access to second chances by making more people eligible to expunge prior mistakes from their record. Second chances are an indispensable piece of successful reentry. 

SB 2128 - an act to amend section 99-19-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that a person may be sentenced as a habitual offender only if he has been sentenced to and served separate terms of one year or more in a state or federal correctional facility; and for related purposes.

Description: Habitual offenders; revise method of determining whether a felony triggers sentencing as.

Our Position: This bill will allow a person to be sentenced as a habitual offender only if that person has been sentenced to and served separate terms of one year or more for a felony. This bill will reduce the number of individuals who are subject to mandatory minimum sentences.

SB 2133 - an act to amend section 47-7-3.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that the department of corrections shall develop a case plan for parole-eligible inmates convicted on or after July 1, 2014; and for related purposes.

Description: Offender case plans; MDOC to develop for parole-eligible offenders convicted on or after July 1, 2014.

Our Position: This bill will mandate that the Department of Corrections (MDOC) complete a case plan for all inmates that included certain rehabilitative programs. MDOC must be held accountable for ensuring inmates are being rehabilitated in order to break the incarceration cycle and reduce risk for recidivism.

SB 2241 -  an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to authorize the expunction of certain nonviolent property crimes; to amend section 99-19-72, Mississippi Code of 1972, to clarify the imposition of expunction fees by the circuit clerks; and for related purposes.

Description: Second chance; authorize expunction of certain nonviolent property crimes.

Our Position: This bill increases access to second chances by making more people eligible to expunge prior mistakes from their record. Second chances are an indispensable piece of successful reentry. 

SB 2248 - an act to amend section 99-19-83, Mississippi Code of 1972, to require a bifurcated trial in order to sentence an offender as an habitual violent offender; and for related purposes.

Description: Violent habitual offender; require bifurcated trial.

Our Position: This bill will allow a person to be sentenced to life as a habitual offender only if a jury determines that the punishment is merited. This bill will reduce the number of individuals who are subject to mandatory minimum sentences.

SB 2257 - an act to amend section 99-19-83, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise habitual offender sentencing; and for related purposes.

Description: Habitual offender; revise sentencing.

Our Position: This bill will allow a person to be sentenced to life as a habitual offender only if a jury determines that the punishment is merited. This bill will reduce the number of individuals who are subject to mandatory minimum sentences.

SB 2262 - an act to amend section 99-19-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise sentencing of an offender dependent on the age of the offender at the time of the commission of the prior offenses; and for related purposes.

Description: Habitual offender; revise sentencing as.

Our Position: This bill specifies that offenses which trigger enhanced sentencing must have happened after the individual was 18 years of age. This will prohibit youthful indiscretions from mandating long prison terms in a person’s adult life.

SB 2263 - : an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to authorize the court of conviction to expunge the record of any felony other than a violent offense or a sex crime after 20 years; and for related purposes.

Description: Expunction; allow after 20 years' good behavior.

Our Position: This bill increases access to second chances by making more people eligible to expunge prior mistakes from their record. Second chances are an indispensable piece of successful reentry. 

SB 2265 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the list of felonies for which a court may grant expunction of record; and for related purposes.

Description: Expunction of conviction; revise.

Our Position: This bill increases access to second chances by making more people eligible to expunge prior mistakes from their record. Second chances are an indispensable piece of successful reentry. 

SB 2266 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the expunction of a felony record under certain limited circumstances; and for related purposes.

Description: Expunction of felony; revise.

Our Position: This bill increases access to second chances by making more people eligible to expunge prior mistakes from their record. Second chances are an indispensable piece of successful reentry. 

SB 2269 - an act to amend section 99-19-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the calculation to determine whether an offender should be sentenced as a habitual offender; and for related purposes.

Description: Habitual offender; prior felonies more than 10 years prior not counted in calculation.

Our Position: This bill will provide a cleansing period to our three strikes law, so that felony convictions from more than ten years ago cannot lead to mandatory maximum sentencing. This bill will reduce the number of individuals who are subject to mandatory minimum sentences.

SB 2271 - an act to amend section 99-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, to authorize the court of conviction to expunge the record of any felony other than a violent offense; and for related purposes.

Description: Expunction; allow for all nonviolent felonies.

Our Position: This bill will allow expungement for all nonviolent felonies, allowing those convicted of non-violent felonies and those who are rehabilitated to obtain jobs and function in society without the weight of their conviction hindering them.

SB 2272 - an act to amend section 99-19-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise habitual offender sentencing; and for related purposes.

Description: Habitual offender sentencing; revise.

Our Position: This bill will limit the felonies that count as "strikes" in our three strikes laws to only serious felonies. This bill will reduced the number of individuals who are subject to mandatory minimum sentences.

SB 2283 - an act to provide procedures for use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers; to describe how video from the cameras must be retained by law enforcement agencies; to authorize who may obtain a copy of a recording; to provide remedies for violations of this act; and for related purposes.

Description: Community Policing and Transparency Act; create body-worn camera policy standards.

Our Position: Body cameras are a win-win for both the police and the community, but only if we pass a law that balances police protection and citizen privacy, and promotes transparency and accountability. Uniformed policy around body cams is necessary for effective usage.


Oppose

HB 26 - an act to amend section 97-37-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, to authorize emergency medical technicians to carry firearms while actually engaged in the performance of their duties as emergency medical technicians; to amend section 41-59-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, to require the state board of health to create rules and regulations that authorize emergency medical technicians to carry firearms while actually engaged in the performance of their duties as such; and for related purposes.

Description: Emergency Medical Technicians; authorize to carry firearms while in performance of duties.

Our Position: Providers of emergency care shouldn't shoot anyone. We already have law enforcement officers, and we already have an issue of too many officer-involved shootings.

HB 27 - an act to enact the "law enforcement protection act of 2018"; to amend section 63-7-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, to eliminate the certificate for medical exemption as an exception to the window tint law; and for related purposes.

Description: "Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2018"; enact.

Our Positon: If someone has a medical condition that will require tinted windows to drive, they should not be prevented from driving, and they shouldn't be criminalized for it.

HB 56 - an act to amend section 47-7-18, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that only a nonviolent parole-eligible inmate convicted on or after July 1, 2014, may be released on his or her parole eligibility date from incarceration to parole supervision without a hearing before the parole board, if certain conditions are met; and for related purposes.

Description: Nonviolent offenders convicted on or after July 1, 2014; make eligible for parole without parole hearing if certain conditions met.

Our Position: We should be expanding parole, not narrowing it. Mississippi has the fourth highest incarceration rate.

HB 58 - an act to amend section 47-7-3.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide that case plans for parole-eligible inmates shall be for nonviolent offenders convicted on or after July 1, 2014; to amend section 47-7-2, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity to the preceding section; and for related purposes.

Description: Case plans for parole-eligible inmates; require for nonviolent inmates convicted on or after July 1, 2014.

Our Position: The law requires those released on parole to have case plans to improve reentry. Public safety is better served for everyone parole eligible to have case plans, not just those who are convicted of nonviolent offenses.

HB 59 - an act to amend section 97-3-2, Mississippi Code of 1972, to strike reference that offenders who are convicted of a crime of violence are eligible for parole; and for related purposes.

Description: Offenders convicted of a crime of violence; strike reference that such offenders are eligible for parole.

Our Position: We should be expanding parole, not narrowing it. Mississippi has the fourth highest incarceration rate. 

HB 61 - an act to amend section 47-7-38.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, to authorize the department of corrections to transfer a disruptive technical violation center offender to the general prison population for the remainder of an offender's revocation term; to amend sections 47-7-27 and 47-7-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity to the preceding section; and for related purposes.

Description: DOC; authorize to transfer disruptive technical violation center offender to general population under certain circumstances.

Our Position: While MDOC needs to maintain order at technical violation centers (TVCs) , this bill as written fails to narrowly define "disruption," and probationers and parolees should only be removed from TVCs in exceptional circumstances.

HB 70 - an act to amend section 37-7-321, Mississippi Code of 1972, to clarify that whenever a school district employs security personnel and designates such personnel as a peace officer, then the security personnel has the power to make arrests upon school property; to provide that if such security personnel is assaulted on school property, then the person who commits the assault is criminally liable as if he or she committed an assault upon a peace officer; to amend section 37-7-323, Mississippi Code of 1972, in conformity to the provisions of this act; and for related purposes.

Description: School resource officers; clarify ability to make arrests on school property.

Our Position: School resource officers serve a role in school that is distinc from law enforcement. This bill would lead to a violation of many students' Fourth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

HB 97 - an act to amend section 47-5-95, Mississippi Code of 1972, to prohibit conjugal visits with offenders who are committed to the custody of the department of corrections; and for related purposes.

Description: Conjugal visits; prohibit for offenders committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections.

Our Position: Conjugal visits, as with any visitation, help prisoners maintain their humanity while incarcerated. Therefore, such visits help in the transition to contributing positively to society once they are released. No legislative act should deny that opportunity for true rehabilitation.

HB 183 - an act to amend section 41-29-139, Mississippi Code of 1972, to provide a penalty for transfer and possession with intent to transfer; and for related purposes.

Description: Heroin and Fentanyl; provide punishment for transfer and possession with intent to transfer.

Our Position: Under this bill, someone suffering from heroin addiction charged with simple possession will face up to 12 years, and anyone with 2 grams will face a man min of 10 years. This is a throwback to the failed policies of decades past. This is not the direction HB 585 intended to take Mississippi. This bill will add to the already over-populated prison system in Mississippi.

HB 194 - an act to amend section 97-23-93, Mississippi Code of 1972, to revise the penalties for shoplifting; and for related purposes.

Description: Shoplifting; revise penalties.

Our Position: This bill attempts to rollback smart justice reforms from recent sessions. Specifically, it seeks to reduce the felony threshold from $1,000 to $500.

HB 243 - an act to amend section 97-15-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, to increase the penalties for the crime of littering on the roads and highways of this state; to revise the distribution of funds from the state assessment imposed and collected on such criminal violations; and for related purposes.

Description: Littering violations; increase penalties for.

Our Position: Increasing penalties in an attempt to increase deterrence is a flawed philosophy. If we want to decrease littering, we won't do it by increasing the sentence tenfold. 

HB 282 - an act to provide that certain persons found in contempt for failure to pay child support and imprisoned for such failure, shall be brought before the court within twenty-four hours of imprisonment to assess the amount of any child support payments; to require the court to determine whether the person is employed; to require the court to enter an order for commitment for electronic house arrest for any person who is employed; to amend sections 9-1-17, 9-5-87, 47-5-1003, 93-5-23 and 93-9-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, to conform to the preceding sections; to bring forward sections 47-5-1001, 47-5-1005, 47-5-1007, 47-5-1011, 47-5-1013 and 47-5-1014, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provide for electronic monitoring devices, house arrest and the intensive supervision program; and for related purposes.

Description: Child support arrearage; require electronic house arrest for certain person found in contempt for.

Our Position: This blatantly relegates liberty to people of a certain socioeconomic status while incarcerating people without for being poor.

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