A Senate committee hears testimony on SB 46 – a bill that would bring about truth in sentencing of those convicted of criminal acts. Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) sponsors the legislation, saying victims are often left disappointed upon learning that a felon who is sentenced to a lengthy prison term gets out much earlier than indicated by the sentence.
"It would require that all felons do 85 percent of their sentence," testified Schaefer. "I’ve seen some of the sentences that are handed out by the trial court – somebody gets a 20 year sentence, the victim feels comfortable, the family feels comfortable only to find out somebody serves three years of that sentence and they’re back out on the street."
Schaefer’s bill would not interfere with judicial discretion in sentencing, but would require that the sentence given be served by the felon.
Among those opposing the legislation is the Missouri Catholic Conference. The Conference’s Rita Linhardt testified increased sentencing would be detrimental to the rehabilitation of the offender.
"Currently, the Department of Corrections has their reentry process," Linhardt told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "And they use the inmates’ parole date as an incentive for them to reach some benchmarks, some goals to improve themselves and if this date is pushed further back, there’s not going to be the incentive there for them"
The panel took no vote on the legislation.