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Task Force to Look at Criminal Justice System in Missouri

On Sep. 20th, Governor Greitens met with The Council of State Governments Justice Center and other representatives to discuss criminal justice reform in the state of Missouri.

Currently, Missouri’s incarceration rate is the eighth highest in the U.S., according to the Missouri Department of Corrections. The CSG Justice Center collected the data from the state in May of 2017, after Governor Greitens, then Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge, Senate President Pro Tempore Ron Richard and House Speaker Todd Richardson requested assistance from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The task force will look at probation, parole and recidivism within the state, the reasons as to why people who leave prison come back. According to the CSG Justice Center, Missouri had the sixth-highest rate in the people who are incarcerated due to parole violations. Due to the large amount of people coming back, the cost of inmates is also on the rise. Taxpayers pay $22,000 for an inmate in prison.

“If what you want is both fewer people in prison and a lower recidivism rate. You’re gonna have to invest in the front end to produce the lower recidivism rate and I think is the question for this initiative,” University of Missouri Professor of Law Frank Bowman said about the task force's goal.

Missouri CURE talks criminal justice reform within the state. The organization works to unite offenders, while educating the community the system in place.

“This is something that hasn’t been done in Missouri and so we are hopefully and prisoners in Missouri are very hopefully that this will make a difference,” Hedy Harden, Missouri Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants Chair said.

This is one of three meetings to discuss trends in the state of Missouri.The task force will meet again in October and November.