JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi Senate has advanced a bill designed to make the criminal justice system more efficient and less expensive.
House Bill 585 is a centerpiece of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant’s legislative agenda for 2014.
Only three senators voted against the latest version of the bill when it passed Thursday. Because the Senate made some changes, the bill returns to the House for more work in the next few weeks.
Mississippi has the second-highest incarceration rate in the nation, and the supporters of the bill say the proposed changes could reduce prison costs by $266 million, spread over 10 years.
Among other things, it would put more emphasis on drug courts that focus on rehabilitation rather than imprisonment.