Imprisonment is a brutal and costly response to crime that traumatizes incarcerated people and hurts families and  communities. It should be the last option, not the first. Yet, Mississippi relies heavily on prison as a sentencing option.

Mississippi imprisons people at the third highest rate in the country. While there has been a relative decline in the prison population recently – attributed to sentencing and parole reforms that helped halt and began to reverse the precipitous growth in the prison population – the state’s prison population has grown nearly fivefold since 1980. The majority of those incarcerated have not yet been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial. Mississippi's addiction to prison is costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars, far outpacing spending in other areas like education.
The ACLU of Mississippi's Campaign for Smart Justice is fighting in the legislators, the courts, and in the communities to end mass incarceration. 

How We Do It

  • Bail Reform: Unjust and for-profit bail systems needlessly  lock up millions of people who haven’t been convicted of a crime just because they can’t afford to pay bail. We’re overhauling this harmful system that strips people of their  rights, targets poor people and people of color, and hurts families and communities.
  • Prosecutorial Reform: Prosecutors across the state work towards convictions, not justice. These mostly elected officials bear great responsibility for driving mass incarceration. We’re changing that by challenging prosecutorial abuse in the courts and legislatures and through voter education.

Why prosecutors? Watch this video to learn why they're the most powerful people in the criminal justice system.