Gov. Bryant wants to stop early release for some criminals - - The News for South Mississippi

Gov. Bryant wants to stop early release for some criminals

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

For anyone serving time in regards to the death of a law enforcement officer, Governor Phil Bryant says, pretty soon, an early release will be out of the question.

"Those cases involving the loss of a life of a police officer, a highway patrolman, anyone in law enforcement should be different. It should be a higher standard and those individuals should at least serve the time that the court had ordered them," said Bryant.

Bryant made that known Wednesday morning during a fallen officer memorial at the Department of Public Safety. This comes after the man responsible for the 2009 death of Master Sergeant Steve Hood is now out of prison.

"Now something seems terribly wrong to me about that," said Bryant.

William Francis was charged with felony fleeing and manslaughter after Hood was killed in a wreck while chasing him. Francis was sentenced to 40 years, 33 were suspended and the other seven would have been his time in prison. Of those seven, he only served two and is now a free man after being released in March.

"Total shock and disbelief because I had not been made aware of any of that," said Lisa Hood, the widow of Steve Hood.

For Hood, the release was surprising because she expected Francis to be up for parole in October. Under current law, criminals like Francis are able to get early release based on whether they're working and their behavior record while behind bars. Bryant will now be asking lawmakers to put a stop it.

"If he pleads to 40 years with seven to serve, he should (serve) seven years, said Bryant. "He shouldn't get the good time, he shouldn't get the time off for good behavior. He ought to be in jail."

For Hood, she says she's excited for the new law potential, especially when it comes to any future tragedies like the one of her husband.

"They're out here to protect and serve the people in the state and then for people like this guy to get out and do what they did, I think that's a punishment they need to suffer for," said Hood.

Bryant plans to present the legislation to make the change during next year's legislative session.

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