Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry
314-499-1424

What’s clearly on the minds of MO lawmakers, both left and right?

Reform is in the air.

To be more specific, it is strongly evident in a mass of legislation currently being fine-tuned and closely debated in Jefferson City. The Missouri capital is awash in reform initiatives that seek to materially adjust existing criminal laws and penalties.

What is especially notable about a pile of would-be laws under consideration is their authorship. Suggestions espousing significant reforms across a broad spectrum are coming in from both sides of the political aisle, which spells a sharp divergence from the past.

That is, Republican legislators are just as eagerly proposing reform measures as are their Democratic colleagues. The publication Missourian notes that the clear bipartisanship on display when it comes to the current reassessment of many criminal law policies is a new – and, to many, welcome – phenomenon.

What brings strong alignment to a need-for-reform coalition is the growing perception that many prison-alternative outcomes prominently marked by a punitive approach simply don’t make sense. Things like a rollback on mandatory minimum sentencing, liberalized expungement rules, enhanced parole opportunities and reentry initiatives aimed at sharply curbing re-offend rates are far more effective for reducing crime and reducing taxpayer exactions.

“I am not interested in building more prisons,” says Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. The state’s chief executive stresses that current reform ideas are urgently needed to both enhance systemic consistency/fairness and increase efficiencies that will lead to material cost savings.

We shall be sure to keep readers duly informed of how reform legislation plays out as it moves through the law-making process.

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Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

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