The days of early-outs for some people in state custody are numbered. It’s only been a couple of years since the legisalture enacted a law saying first-time, non-violent felons could petition a court for release from prison after 120 days. It was an effort to reduce crowding in the prisons and a way to keep prisons reserved for more violent, repeat offenders. This year the legislature has thrown out that idea. Governor Blunt, who has signed the bill, says the repeal is a correction to a well-intentioned measure. He says it’s in the interests of public safety for offenders to serve as much of their sentence as they can. Blunt says there are other ways to ease prison crowding, such as working through the Board of Probation and Parole and using technology, such as electronic monitoring to confine prisoners to their homes.Blunt does not think the change will increase prison crowding or force the reopening of a prison the state has mothballed to save money. He says the population levels will be closely monitored and the prison can be re-opened if necessary. But he hopes it doesn’t come to that.
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