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New Missouri law allows non-violent offenders... - KOAM TV 7

New Missouri law allows non-violent offenders to serve less probation with good behavior

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A new Missouri law means a shortened probation and parole time for some non-violent offenders.

"For every 30 days that they behave themselves and don't get a violation, they can knock 30 days off their probation period or their time on parole, but I think more importantly for those that do have a violation, it allows the probation or parole officer the ability to have an immediate sanction," says Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson.

The sanction allows parole officers to send the repeat offenders immediately back to jail as opposed to waiting for the courts to do so.

Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn says he sees the law as a positive incentive to those on good behavior and for the department.

"If we do have a bed available the reimbursement costs will help us pay the costs for the incarceration which is a benefit because, if we get zero now, getting $30 dollars would be great," says Sheriff Dunn.

Some say see the shortened time period as a problem while others say it's a good idea.

"I don't think it's fair," says Carthage resident Colleena Baker.  "They do things - DWI's, drinking and driving - and causing trouble and it's not fair."

"If they are not violent why keep them in there and cost us money?" says Carthage resident Jason Blevins.  "Jails are full enough already and we have got people like drug dealers out every day.  I'd rather have one of those in there then someone that is non-violent."

Dankelson says repeat or dangerous offenders make up about 95% of jail inmates and this law is geared towards giving first time offenders the chance to change their life around.

"There are a couple of other states that have done this and they have found that it was worked with some success so that's why we are going to implement it here in Missouri," Dankelson says.

"If you can reform people who have done wrong and this helps, it's got to be a good thing," says Sheriff Dunn.

Jasper County officials say that it costs about $50 a day per person and that once this goes into affect on August 28 the county will be saving a lot of money.

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