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By Jeff Amy/Associated Press

JACKSON (AP) – Mississippi lawmakers are trying to save money by cutting the number of state prisoners. But at the same time they’re still trying to lock offenders up longer.

Those tensions became evident Wednesday as representatives passed House Bill 63, which would limit the ability of certain violent offenders to get time off prison sentences after a second conviction.

The bill, which passed 79-41, goes to the Senate for more debate.

Supporters of the bill say that people who commit a second violent crime after getting out of prison the first time haven’t learned their lessons and shouldn’t be able to earn time off a sentence.

But critics say the measure works at cross purposes to House Bill 585, designed to cut $266 million from prison budgets over the next 10 years.

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