Even President Bill Clinton, who began the use of the 85% mandatory minimums law in the early 1990s, now admits that this legislation is too great of a burden. The financial cost is staggering, and the human toll is immense. Here are some facts to help acquaint you with the issue Missourians are working to reform.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Facts
· The “Truth in Sentencing Law” was enacted in 1994 after the Clinton Administration offered federal funding incentives to states to adopt the 85% mandatory minimum sentences for Class A felonies that the federal government uses.
· Prior to 1994, Class A felonies in Missouri had a 40% mandatory minimum.
· The federal funding has gone away, and Missouri now pays for all of the additional years that must be served.
· Prior to 1994, at 40% of a 20 year sentence, an inmate had to serve 8 years. After 1994, at 85% the amount for the same crime soared to 17 years.
· It costs approximately $21,000 a year to incarcerate one person. That means Missouri taxpayers pay an additional $189,000 to incarcerate someone in the example above.
· For every 1,000 inmates that this bill affects, the taxpayers will save a total of $189,000,000.
· This bill will not reduce the sentences for those with murder, rape, or child molestation convictions.
· This bill only applies to first time offenders. Repeat offenders will not be covered by this reform.
· First degree robbery ranks first as the most common conviction in the Missouri prison system with approximately 2,572 currently incarcerated. Hundreds of others are incarcerated for first degree assault.
· By shortening time served for first time offenders who demonstrate good behavior while in prison, it will help alleviate the overcrowding in the Department of Corrections.
· 32,000 people are currently incarcerated in Missouri.
· 11,000 others are convicted and sit in county jails awaiting bed space in prison at a cost of $40 per day that the state pays the counties.
· Currently county jails are overcrowded due to the state prisoners being housed there, and the probation and parole system has difficulty sending parole violators back to prison due to overcrowding.
· The average capacity of a maximum security prison in Missouri is 1,500-1,800.
· This legislation will alleviate the equivalent of one maximum security prison from our strained system over the course of the next five years.