Sentencing panel suggests parole changes

Its final report should be released next week, after the Missouri Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections held its final meeting Friday.

If lawmakers adopt their recommendations, Missouri government could save from $3 million to $12 million a year, and close a prison housing unit.

“What we have seen, I think, from studying the data in Missouri, is that one of the biggest cost-drivers has been recidivism,” state Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon and the working group’s co-chair, said after Friday’s two-hour meeting.

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Often, Goodman noted, offenders on probation or parole commit “technical” violations of their orders that should be addressed — just as a parent puts a young child in “time-out” — to remind the offender that rules must be followed. But the violations aren’t the same as committing a new crime, and don’t need to result in a new prison sentence.

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