Austin, TX – Right on Crime applauds the Mississippi legislature for sending meaningful criminal justice reform to Governor Phil Bryant’s desk. This legislation helps make Mississippians safer while also reducing barriers that have prevented former offenders from becoming taxpaying citizens.

House Bill 387, authored by Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, works to prevent Mississippians from being automatically jailed for inability to pay fines or fees. Current debt collection practices have landed indigent, nonviolent offenders in jail at taxpayers’ expense. HB 387 requires judges to assess offenders individually, considering prior arrests, potential need for treatment, and financial state, prior to sentencing.

“House Bill 387 rightly puts public safety at the forefront of Mississippi’s criminal justice system,” says Right on Crime’s National Director of Reentry Initiatives, John Koufos. “The evidence has demonstrated that effective treatment interventions, incentives to complete programs, and pathways from prison to paycheck makes us all safer by reducing recidivism. Many of these interventions also free law enforcement to pursue more serious crimes.”

If signed into law, this would be the second step the Magnolia State has taken towards criminal justice reform. The Legislature passed comprehensive reforms in 2015 that emphasized alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. HB 387 would complement previous reforms and further help relieve taxpayers of the financial burden spurred by over incarceration.

Right on Crime is a national campaign of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in partnership with the American Conservative Union Foundation and Prison Fellowship that supports conservative solutions for reducing crime, restoring victims, reforming offenders, and lowering taxpayer costs. The movement was born in Texas in 2007, and in recent years, dozens of states such as Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, have led the way in implementing conservative criminal justice reforms.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Right on Crime’s policy experts, please contact Caroline Espinosa at [email protected] or 512-472-2700.