The Senate has given first round approval to a bill intended to deal with overcrowding in the state’s prison system. Missouri’s prison population has doubled in the past ten years and Senator Harold Caskey of Butler has proposed relaxed probation and parole rules for some nonviolent offenders as a way of dealing with the problem. Caskey points to one main reason for the overcrowding – mandatory sentencing requirements. Caskey says easing the mandatory rules would save about $10-Million in the first year, $20-Million in the second year, and about $31-Million in the third. Several amendments were proposed before the Senate approved the bill. One was put forward by Senator Ed Quick of Liberty, a longtime opponent of the death penalty, who called for the elimination of capital punishment. It was defeated. The legislation needs one more positive vote in the Senate before it can move to the House.