Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that could shorten the time some nonviolent offenders have to spend behind bars and on parole or probation.
The legislation enacted Friday allows nonviolent offenders on parole or probation to receive 30 days of credit toward their sentences for every month they go without a violation. It also allows 120-day "shock" jail sentences for felons who violate probation or parole for the first time, instead of returning them to prison to finish their original sentences.
Top officials from Missouri's legislative, executive and judicial branches are joining forces in an effort to revamp Missouri's criminal sentencing practices.
Missouri officials are working with the Pew Center on the States to analyze current sentencing laws, prison and probation programs and recidivism rates. Other states that have done similar studies have enacted laws directing more nonviolent offenders to enhanced probation and drug treatment programs. That generally saves prison beds for the most serious and violent offenses.