Why FAMM is Working in Missouri:
Missouri has the 8th largest prison population in the country. Without sentencing reform and other reforms, the state will incarcerate almost 35,000 people and be forced to build two new prisons by 2021. Part of the growth in Missouri’s prison system is because judges are required to give people lengthy prison sentences and lack discretion to fit the punishment to the crime and the individual in many cases.
2018 Bills FAMM Supports:
In 2018, FAMM continues to work with lawmakers to pass a “safety valve” bill that will give judges flexibility not to apply statutory and mandatory minimum prison terms when the offender meets certain criteria. The Missouri Legislature meets until May 31, 2018. Below are the bills we’re supporting. Remember: to become law, bills must first be approved by committees, passed by both houses of the legislature, and signed by the governor. Keep checking here for details about the bills and their progress!
HB 1739 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)
SB 748 (Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar)
These resources explain what the bills FAMM supports would do, who they would help, and how much they would save taxpayers.
What HB 1739/SB 748 Do, and Who They Help
Cost-savings of HB 1739/SB 748: $4 Million Per Year
Why HB 1739/SB 748 Are Good for Missouri, Taxpayers, and Public Safety
How Missouri’s Minimum Prison Terms (MPTs) Work
Missouri’s Drug Sentencing Laws
ALEC State Factor: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Reform Saves States Money and Reduces Crime Rates (2016)
How Other States Have Reformed Mandatory Sentencing Laws (Nov. 2017)
Council of State Governments’ Final Recommendations to Missouri Justice Reinvestment Task Force (12/18/17)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missouri faces choice: Improve prison system or build two new lockups, task force warns (1/4/18)
History of sentencing reforms in Missouri:
Two bills, HB 38 and HB 1037, were introduced into the Missouri House of Representatives in 2017. FAMM supported both HB 38, introduced by Representative Galen Higdon (R, District 11), and HB 1037, introduced by Representative Bruce DeGroot (R-District 101). Neither bill became law.
Bill was passed to reduce crack-powder cocaine disparity by increasing the amount of crack cocaine that triggers mandatory minimum sentences. The crack-powder disparity in Missouri sentencing went from 75:1 to 18:1.
“Truth in Sentencing” Act passed, therefore individuals convicted of a Class A felony must serve 85% of their sentence before being parole eligible. This is also known as the 85% Law. It resulted in:
- Highest per capita rates of incarceration
- the prison population increased 9 times in 30 years
- the cost of corrections increasing from $220 million in 1994 to $680 million in 2014.
You can do several things to work toward reforming your state’s sentencing laws – go to our get involved page to find out how.
May 1, 2017
Legislation has been introduced in Missouri that would relax the state’s rigid sentencing laws in favor of more flexible guidelines. Known as the Justice Safety Valve Act, the bill would offer a reprieve from inflexible one-size-fits-all sentencing and could save taxpayers a lot of money. Under current law, sentencing courts are required to issue minimum… Read more »
February 6, 2017
Originally seen in Corrections One. JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — For 16 years as Missouri attorney general, Jay Nixon’s job was to be tough on crime. His office argued against seemingly countless appeals from people challenging their convictions and sentences. As he nears the end of his tenure as governor — and a lengthy political career… Read more »
February 6, 2017
Originally seen in The Daily Chronic. COLUMBIA, MO — Sentencing reforms took effect on January 1, 2017 eliminating the threat of jail time for some first-time marijuana offenders. Under the newly enacted law, first-time offenders who possess no more than ten grams of cannabis face a $500 fine, but no threat of incarceration. However, the act… Read more »
February 6, 2017
Originally seen in KSHB. JEFFERSON City, Mo – The 2017 Missouri General Assembly session, which begins on Wednesday, could bring a number of changes to state issues, including sentencing guidelines for certain criminals. House Bill 38, sponsored by State Rep. Galen Higdon (R – District 11), aims to get rid of mandatory minimum sentences in… Read more »