Thursday, September 20, 2012

An honest discussion about criminal justice reform in Mississippi's future?

Currently in Mississippi, a person who was convicted of possessing stolen goods worth more than $500 can never carry a gun again, nor can they vote.

Let that sink in.

Happened when you were 19, sir?  Sorry Mr. 50 year-old successful business owner, you can't vote.  And if you try to go hunting, you're committing a felony that carries 10 years in Parchman.

A new website, launched by the American Bar Association, might lead the way for changing that.

The National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction, launched yesterday, aims to inform people of the future consequences of a conviction. According to the Project Description:
While collateral consequences have been a familiar feature of the American justice system since colonial times, they have become more important and more problematic in the past 20 years for three reasons: they are more numerous and more severe, they affect more people, and they are harder to avoid or mitigate. As a result, millions of Americans are consigned to a kind of legal limbo because at one point in their past they committed a crime.
Hopefully, once Mississippi information is added, it will lead to an honest discussion amongst lawmakers about the albatross we hang around the necks of nonviolent offenders.

More discussion of this over at Eichelberger on Mississippi Criminal Law.

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