Mississippi's prison population is increasing because, gasp, judges are actually doing their jobs. The horror. The Clarion-Ledger reported last week:
Judges are likely responsible for an unexpected increase of about 1,000 inmates in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections in the last year, says the head of the state’s public defender office.
Last week, MDOC Commissioner Marshall Fisher mentioned the increase of inmates. He didn’t have a concrete reason for the jump....
The significance of the increase is that the state's prison population has been predicted to continue to decrease as part of prison reform legislation with the goal of saving the state $266 million in prison costs over the next 10 years....
With the implementation of HB 585, the number of violators returning to prison has declined as sanctions and other measures have been implemented.
However, since the latter portion of 2015, the number of revocations as well as the percent of revocations in comparison to overall admissions have begun to increase. This increase may be attributable in part to the fact that there are more offenders on parole and probation, according to the task force.
"We are seeing an increase in all admissions and a decrease in releases," said de Gruy. "It is clear that the driver in admissions is an increase in revocations to prison. Historically, parole has been the driver in releases."
July 2013: 22,626
July 2014: 20,724
Sept. 2015: 18,267
Aug. 2016: 19,436
Kingfish note: Judges are revoking sentences and sending convicts back to prison. Deal with it. Criminals are convicted and given suspended sentences. The suspended sentence can be a wonderful tool in fighting crime if used properly. The convict is given a second chance. If he lives a clean life, he stays free. However, if he is arrested again, he can be sent to a technical violation center for 90 days on a misdemeanor or go to prison for the term of his suspended sentence if he is arrested for a felony. However, the incentive only works if the convict has a reasonable fear of serving his suspended sentence if he is arrested again.
The prison population increase is thus probably due to felons committing more felonies. Law enforcement officials in the Jackson area have repeatedly said their biggest and most common criminal is the repeat offender. The posts of this website are flooded with cases of criminals who were given suspended sentences and went on to commit more crimes. The criminals have all too often gotten more violent as they see the suspended sentence not as an incentive to live clean but instead as a chance to commit more crime.
HB #585 created this problem. A fiend breaks into your home and cleans it out. The case sits around for a couple of years in the courthouse. A prosecutor and public defender work out a deal. The burglary is knocked down to receiving stolen property. The perp gets a five-year sentence but four years or more are suspended. However, he only has to serve 25% of his sentence before he is free again so he is back on the street within a few months. He then commits more crimes and graduates up the ladder from house burglary to armed robbery or carjacking. If he has got real talent, he will be an impact player and commit some murder. Meanwhile, the ACLU pretty boy who whines about the criminal justice system in the pages of the newspaper ignores catch & release or this repeat offender problem. They are inconvenient facts for his ilk. He probably doesn't even see this problem as a problem.
JJ has called out judges or pressured the criminal justice system to revoke the freedom of convicted felons and impose their suspended sentences when they are arrested for committing more felonies and makes no apologies for doing so.
If the prison population increases, then that is the problem of the bean counters. Mississippi families have a right to be protected from career criminals despite the howls of our politicians. .