Mississippi families criticize Early Release Program

Mississippi families criticize Early Release Program
Mississippi families criticize Early Release Program

Mississippi families are criticizing state prisons for the release of violent offenders to create more space and save money.

It has many people asking why such policies exist, and how can they be changed. One member of the Mississippi legislature provides some answers.

People expressed strong sentiments on WDAM's Facebook page, after Chrystal Garner's pained reaction to the early release of the woman who was convicted of manslaughter for participating in the murder of Garner's ex-husband Sammy.

Some said the release was unfortunate, an outrage, a shame, but perhaps the most outstanding comment came from the daughter of Sammy Garner, "Believe me I want her to stay in jail. This one we have to blame on the legislators who voted and passed this absurd law."

One of those legislators gave some answers to the purpose of Earned Release Supervision. Senator Willie Simmons of District 13 says Earned Release is a necessity for the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

"If we did not have any kind of early release program our population would almost be twice the size that it is, which would be a serious burden on the state budget one that we really could not afford," said Simmons.

Simmons says without this program the state would have to take money from health care and education, and the Department of Corrections uses earned release as a exit tool.

"You need an exit valve with offenders coming into the system so that the Department of Corrections will have the management tools in the way of being able to have offenders looking forward to the possibility of being released, as opposed to knowing that they are just going to be locked up and creating behavior problems within the system,"said Simmons.

According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections there are currently over 1600 inmates being considered for earned release.

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