Missouri Prison Population on the Decline
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Missouri Prison Population on the Decline

Date: October 16, 2007
By: Carly Robertson
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: A report by the U.S. Justice Department says Missouri is one of only eight states who has seen their prison population decline in recent years.

Carly Robertson has more from the state Capitol.

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The Department of Corrections says the launch of statewide sentencing guidelines has produced promising results.   

The system was put into place in November 2005 after Missouri reached an all-time high prison population of 30,650. 

Today, the number has decreased by nearly 900 prisoners.

Brian Hauswirth is the spokesman for the Department of Corrections.  

Actuality:  HAUSWIR1.WAV
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Description: "While many states have seen their  population increase over the past couple of years Missouri is one of only eight states  whose prison populations declined and our decrease in prison population actually led the country; so Missouri is really a pioneer here."

The system provides recommendations to judges based on risk components such as the offender's age, education,and prior sentencing.  

It is then up to the judge to decide whether or not to follow the recommendation. 

From the state Capitol, I'm Carly Robertson.


Intro: A report by the U.S. Justice Department show Missouri is one of only eight states whose prison population has declined. Carly Robertson has more from the state Capitol.  RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

The Department of Corrections and the Missouri Sentencing Board Commission started a risk rating program after the state's prison population reached an all-time high in October 2005.

The program created guidelines for judges to follow when sentencing offenders.

The guidelines are based on risk factors such as repeat offenses and the severity of the crime.  

Fulton Representative Danie Moore serves on the Commission.

She says one of the main goals is to make sentencing fair and consistent across the state.

Actuality:  MOORE.WAV
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Description: "It's not that we're yanking people out of prison early or anything like that because the parole board functions just as it always has and so on. I believe the main difference is the way our judges are sentencing."

Today the prison population has decreased by almost 900 prisoners.

The Department of Corrections says it costs about $14,000 a year to house a prisoner.

They say this decrease therefore can  potentially save taxpayers millions of dollars.

From the state Capitol, I'm Carly Robertson.