As we enter into a new year, I am reflecting on all that was accomplished last year, with a sense of hope of what is to come in the new year.
The fight for criminal justice reform often feels like an uphill battle, but as we sit and reflect, we can be proud that we took huge strides forward in our fight to end Mississippi’s incarceration crisis.
At the beginning of 2021, Mississippi’s leaders came together to pass important criminal justice reforms that prioritize safety and second chances.
With the help of dedicated and passionate leaders in the Mississippi Legislature, we accomplished our goal. Senate Bill (SB) 2795, also known as the Mississippi Earned Parole Eligibility Act is common sense policy that an overwhelming majority of legislators from both parties supported. It was signed into law by the governor in April and went into effect on July 1.
Mississippi is known for having some of the harshest and most extreme sentences in the nation, but now more people will now have the opportunity to make their case before the parole board for a second chance.
This year, I am grateful that even more people had the opportunity to celebrate with their families and loved ones this year and in the years to come.
To help support formerly incarcerated people in our communities, we need to continue to come together as a community, to ensure access to housing, employment and educational opportunities. We have an opportunity to make sure that all Mississippi residents can lead full, productive lives.
We are on the right track. We have taken important steps to address our incarceration crisis, which impacts us all.
Mississippians in every corner of the state should be proud of the work their elected leaders have done this year to advance criminal justice reform. SB 2795 marks significant progress for Mississippi. While there is still work to be done, we are well on our way to reconnecting families, revitalizing our economy, and restoring a sense of safety and community.