(The following is a press release from the Mississippi Attorney General's office.)
Jackson, MS—Since the 2015 Legislative Session convened, Attorney General Hood has handed lawmakers over $50 million for deposit into the State of Mississippi General Fund.
The Attorney General today handed over a check from two separate settlements which amounts to $30,010,621.45. The distribution results from litigation involving two cases: Standard & Poor's-$26,812,580.67 and Capital One-$3,198,040.78. In addition, the Attorney General on February 5, 2015 deposited another $20 million into the State's General Fund, resulting in a total of $50,010,621.45 recovered for taxpayers during this legislative session.
“The law requires that I make recommendations to the Legislature for improvement of public service,” said Attorney General Hood. “There are several serious criminal and civil justice issues which I have advised lawmakers of and hope they will see fit to appropriate a small portion of these recoveries to address those issues.”
Among the Attorney General's recommendation to lawmakers:
• Approximately $15 million for a new forensic unit to expand the ability of the State Hospital at Whitfield to house the criminally insane.
“Due to the shortage of beds, the department must move a person out in order to take another in,” said Attorney General Hood. “As a result, defendants in need of forensic evaluation languish in county jails. “
• Approximately $2 million for dedicated supported housing and rental assistance for the mentally ill.
“I appreciate the action House members have already taken to pass House Bill 1563 which contains the requested amount of money. The bill is now in the Senate Appropriation Committee. This is a small amount to pay in order to facilitate proper, humane treatment of our mentally ill,” said Attorney General Hood. “It is a bargain compared to the costs we will incur if sued by the Department of Justice under the Olmstead case and the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
• $3 million on an Inmate Reentry Project
“The project would create 100 minimum security beds for felony inmates who have completed their sentences and are about to reenter society,” said Attorney General Hood. “From this facility they would work during the day and receive drug, mental health, religious and life-skill counseling to prepare them for their release.”