Task force looks to cut Mississippi prison population

Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A task force that's trying to cut Mississippi's ballooning prison population has preliminarily agreed suggest several changes in how criminals are sentenced and released.

The group plans to present its recommendations to the 2014 Legislature. It's also looking at changes that would increase the amount of time some prisoners serve.

Still, the net effect would be to reduce the number of people in state custody, now more than 22,000. Mississippi expects to spend $338 million on the Department of Corrections this year, a number that has grown along with the prison population.

The proposals aim to cut time that low-level drug offenders and thieves spend in prison. For example, the task force suggests raising the threshold for felony theft to $1,000 from $500.

Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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