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MO Senate Hears Bills Seeking To Modify Mandatory Minimum Sentence Laws

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Parole boards across the state could have more discretion on reducing sentence length for eligible felonies. A senate committee heard bills Monday afternoon that seek to modify mandatory minimum sentence laws.

Republican Senator Ed Emery and Democratic Senator Karla May worked on specific details about which violent offenders are eligible with the help of the Department of Corrections and the governor’s office. Crimes such as murder and kidnapping would not be eligible.

Senator Emery says prosecutors were concerned about how to address minimum sentencing.

“Their concern was with the number of judges—I think we have over 300 judges in the state—and it left a lot to the imagination,” says Emery.

Eric Zahnd is the Platte County prosecutor and is on the board of the directors of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

“This bill helps the parole board to more effectively manage offenders once they have been sentenced to prison,” says Zahnd.

Some senators questioned whether or not drug crimes should be eligible and how to handle repeat offenders that commit different crimes.