JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Will more Mississippi inmates be eligible for parole? Lawmakers think so.
But Governor Tate Reeves has yet to give the final green light on the bill.
SB 2795 is due from Reeves Thursday, April 22.
The governor’s office has yet to give any indication on what Reeves will decide and the primary sponsor of the bill, Sen. Juan Barnett (D) is in a holding pattern.
“I’m just going to wait and see,” Barnett said.
Perhaps the biggest supporters of the bill, Empower Mississippi, says the legislation, “will save taxpayer dollars, help the state fend off an investigation from the federal government, and provide second chances to those who have earned it.”
The independent, nonprofit advocacy organization is all about removing barriers and giving Mississippians second chances. They also worked tirelessly on the bill to push it through both the House and Senate.
But it’s not the first time a justice reform measure cleared both houses.
“Last year, we had an incredible push with S.B. 2123, which passed both chambers, but progress was halted by a veto,” said Steven Randle, director of justice and work for Empower Mississippi.
If signed into law by Reeves, Empower Mississippi said the bill will alleviate some of the stress on Mississippi’s prison system.
“SB 2795 seeks to bring Mississippi more in line with Texas, offering parole eligibility to more people through a proven system of vetting who belongs to stay behind bars versus who has demonstrated rehabilitation and earned a second chance, while excluding serious offenses like murder, sex offenses, and human trafficking from eligibility,” the group said.
The governor could opt to veto the bill, sign the bill or neither and allow the deadline to pass, which also passes the bill.