Recently the Columbia Missourian ran a story about jail bond bills—payments that defendants are required to make to cover their own incarceration in county jails. According to the story, only seven of Missouri’s 114 counties do not collect such funds. And a defendant who is unable to “pay to stay,” may be sentenced to longer jail terms with higher resulting board bills.
Criminal Justice Reform
Today, the Missouri Senate passed Senate Bill 793, which the House passed earlier this week. With the Governor’s signature, the new law would make Missouri the 46th state to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 years old. As a result, 17-year-olds would be placed in the juvenile justice system unless they are certified as an adult by a judge because of their criminal history or nature of the crime.
In a vote that was itself noteworthy, on May 1 the Missouri House voted unanimously, 148 to 0, to approve House Bill 1739, giving judges more discretion in applying mandatory minimum sentences. It is now before the Senate to pass and send to the governor.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the need for broader criminal justice reform in order to avoid spending nearly half a billion dollars on two new prisons over the next five years.
I recently had the opportunity to testify on behalf of SB900, a bill that would remove some barriers to hiring ex-offenders. As with the Ban the Box initiative—which may not actually be helping people—this is an effort to make sure that those who have been convicted of felonies are given a real opportunity to become productive, tax-paying citizens.
On February 5, 2018, Show-Me Institute Director of Municipal Policy Patrick Tuohey delivered testimony to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee regarding Senate Bill 900, which would remove certain barriers to employment for ex-offenders. The full testimony is available at the link below.