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Criminal justice agenda could include re-entry, expungements

Lawmakers say changes to Mississippi's criminal justice system will be among their top priorities for the legislative session beginning Tuesday.

Posted: Jan. 7, 2019 4:51 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Lawmakers say changes to Mississippi's criminal justice system will be among their top priorities for the legislative session beginning Tuesday.

Changes could include support for prisoners to re-enter society, ways to wipe out records of past convictions and sentencing relief for prisoners convicted before an earlier round of sentencing reforms.

Both Gov. Phil Bryant and House Speaker Philip Gunn support changes. However, they and other top lawmakers remain vague about what they hope to accomplish.

Mississippi passed a bill in 2014 meant to cut prison sentences. The state's prison population declined for a time, but the number of state prisoners is rising again. The issue has come into the spotlight in part because of support from conservative groups and a bill recently passed by Congress.

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