Jackson Co. senator works to keep violent offenders behind bars

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Violent offenders could their "get out of prison early" cards revoked. Jackson County Senator Brice Wiggins said he has authored a bill to tweak the state Manslaughter law, so offenders don't qualify for any work or earned release programs.  

When state senator Wiggins served as an assistant district attorney in Jackson County one of the most memorable cases was the Joseph Goff case. Goff pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his former classmate Kyle Todd, and he was set to serve 20 years for the crime.

"He was able to get time off his sentence as credit by Department of Corrections for picking up sticks after Hurricane Katrina," Wiggins said.

Goff actually took part in an earned release program that honors good behavior. MDOC put him on probation and home supervision last year, then news came out that he had been picked up for DUI on New Year's Day.

"Sure enough, a couple of weeks ago he was rearrested," Wiggins said.

Now, Wiggins said he has created a bill that could keep violent offenders behind bars.

"What it does is it limits the amount of earned release, meritorious time release, and trusty release time that a violent offender can get." Wiggins said about his bill.

The first time senator said when violent offenders get time shaved off; it really gives them a free pass to be out in the community.

"If you do the crime you have to do the time," Wiggins said.

Wiggins said he's amazed at the support he's getting from fellow lawmakers and citizens for the bill.

"I am optimistic about it. With the recent media coverage of the pardons going on, we know how the public feels about violent offenders serving their time," Wiggins said.

Senator Wiggins submitted this bill last week, and it will go to judicial committee this week. Now if it gets out of committee, he hopes it would move smoothly through the House and Senate.

Senator Wiggins said he's also submitted another bill states that before correction officials release an inmate, they have to notify the arresting agency, prosecutors and victims.

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