New Approaches to Incarceration in Missouri
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Pressure for revisions in Missouri's sentencing laws has been increasing, fueled by analyses of the severity of those laws, by the examination of alternatives to sentencing, and by the escalating cost of incarceration. The trends are very clear. Missouri had about 5,700 inmates in prison in 1980 but by 2001, the state held nearly 29,000 prisoners. In recent years, the rate of growth has been about three new inmates per day, requiring a new 1800 man prison facility every 18 months. The cost of incarcerating one offender is $12,968 annually. Senate Bill 5, enacted by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor in 2003 was designed to address these issues. Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Senator Harold Caskey and handled in the House by Representative Robert Mayer, relaxes the sentencing for first time, non-violent offenders, emphasizing instead rehabilitation, probation, parole and community options. These changes are expected to reduce the rate of growth of Missouri's prison population to near zero. As a result of SB 5, the Department of Corrections estimates a possible savings of over $9 million per year because it will receive 1,392 fewer prisoners per year. Senate Bill 5 provides additional options for the sentencing of non-violent offenders requiring drug and alcohol treatment, provides new sentencing alternatives to judges, and modifies several sentencing provisions.
Morrow, S. (2004). New approaches to incarceration in Missouri. Retrieved 10-14-09, from University of Missouri System, Missouri Legislative Academy Web site: http://www.truman.missouri.edu/ipp/mla/publications/publications.htm