Bryant vetoes criminal justice bill over early-parole – Mississippi News

Bryant vetoes criminal justice bill over early-parole – Mississippi News


Sarah Smith, Associated Press

Published 9:25 a.m. CT April 21, 2017 | Updated 35 minutes ago

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Lawmakers focused on several issues during the regular 2017 legislative session, including amending the state’s divorce law and adding more criminal and civil laws to the books.
Dustin Barnes/The Clarion-Ledger

Mississippi’s governor has vetoed a criminal justice bill because of a typographical error that he says could have unintended consequences.

House Bill 1033 would have allowed employed parolees to schedule online interviews with probation officers, so the parolees would not have to miss work to go to an interview in person. It also would have eliminated automatic prison time for failure to pay a fine, and would have allowed inmates to learn job skills.

In vetoing the bill, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said the mistake in the bill would have made habitual offenders eligible for parole after serving 25 percent of a sentence.

The typo comes down to a single number — from a “1” to a “3′” — that switched reference to specific sections of existing state law. Legislators confirmed the error happened during final negotiations over the bill.

“Regardless of whether this language was a technical error or not, habitual offenders should not be parole-eligible after only serving a small portion of their sentences,” Bryant wrote in his veto message Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Andy Gipson of Braxton, who wrote the bill, said two other sections of it would have prevented those offenders from being considered for parole.

“I think it’s something we can work…

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