Mississippi has more than 22,000 people in jails and prisons. It's the second highest incarceration rate in the nation. This is not something we should be proud of. State lawmakers have an opportunity to do something about it when they convene later this month.
We agree with a 21 member task force of judges, prosecutors and other elected officials who are recommending sweeping reforms. We are not suggesting that lawmakers go soft on crime. Rather make changes that allow judges to use common sense when it comes to sentencing non-violent criminals.
Long sentences should be reserved for violent and repeat offenders. But sentencing reform is just part of the answer to prison overcrowding. Mississippi must focus on better education, building a better economy with better and higher paying jobs. That will be key reducing crime and the need for prisons.
That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to email@example.com.
WLOX-TV General Manager