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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi lawmakers are moving forward with bills designed to make the criminal justice system more efficient and less expensive.

House Bill 585 and Senate Bill 2784 say anyone convicted of a violent offense would be required to serve at least 50 percent of a sentence, and anyone convicted of a nonviolent offense would have to serve at least 25 percent.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson calls these “true minimums.” He says judges often give long sentences now because of uncertainty about how long an inmate will stay in prison.

The bills also would give judges more flexibility to give alternative sentences, such as ordering treatment for drug users.

Committees approved the bills Thursday, sending them to the full House and Senate for more debate later.

 

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