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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today a coalition led by Americans for Prosperity-Missouri (AFP-MO), including the ACLU-Missouri, Empower Missouri, Freedom Works, among other organizations issued a letter to Governor Parson calling for him to veto SB 600, a bill that would institute disproportionate and discredited sentencing requirements.
The bill would cost taxpayers $16 million per year and is estimated to increase Missouri’s prison population by 2,500, resulting in $500 million on two new prisons to be built.
AFP-MO State Director Jeremy Cady issued the following statement:
“Enacting a bill that doesn’t make Missourians safer and forces taxpayers to pay a half a billion dollars to pay for two new prisons is the wrong approach for our state. We should abandon the discredited tough on crime approach and follow states like Texas who have implemented smart-on-crime reforms that have resulted in the lowest crime rates since the 1960s and closed ten facilities. Vetoing this bill will be a huge step toward making our communities stronger and our criminal justice system more just and more compassionate.”
Empower-Missouri Executive Director Jeanette Mott Oxford issued the following statement:
“Decades of rigorous studies show that the mandatory minimums and stacking of sentences in Senate Bill 600 will not deter crime or reduce violence. Of equal concern is the statement in the fiscal note by the Office of the State Public Defender, a warning that they cannot provide effective representation to additional indigent persons with existing staff. Clearly this bill would repeat past failures and have unjust outcomes.”
ACLU-MO Legislative and Policy Director Sara Baker issued the following statement:
“Criminal justice reform means more than looking at past wrongs in the law and reassessing, it also means learning what did not work and charting a different path. SB 600 retries mandatory minimums and adds enhancements to existing crimes simply designed to keep people locked up longer. That doesn’t keep us safer. We know that. Data confirms that. We must adapt and confront crime with alternative policies that focus on restoration and what it takes to return people to society in a way they can thrive. We must create systems that make incarceration truly a last resort. It fractures families and burdens taxpayers to continue reviving policy mistakes. At the heart of our new policies, we must place a priority on liberty and justice – neither of which are served by measures like SB 600.”
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