JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Governor Tate Reeves has until Thursday, April 22, to decide the fate of a criminal justice bill called the Mississippi Earned Parole Eligibility Act. While it passed both the Senate and the House overwhelmingly, it’s unclear what the governor plans to do.
Senate Bill 2795, authored by Senator Juan Barnett, aims to reduce the prison population in the state by providing more parole eligibility for offenders. The state’s prison system was under investigation in 2020 following the deaths of several inmates and unrest at some of the state’s prisons.
Reeves has vetoed previous criminal justice reform measures. Lawmakers said they listened in and addressed his veto message from last year.
“A lot shorter sentences, but for most part, you’re going to see people being smarter on crime,” said State Representative Nick Bain (R-Miss.).
Mississippi has one of the highest incarceration rates in the United States according to data. The governor has three choices with the Parole Eligibility Act: sign the bill, veto it or leave it alone and let it become law.
In early April when the session wrapped up, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann said that he believes this time the governor will put pen to paper.