Barbour criticized for 130 days off prison time

JACKSON — The early release of a Mississippi man convicted of manslaughter has drawn attention because Gov. Haley Barbour, a possible Republican presidential candidate, signed an order that gave time off to the man and other prisoners.

The convict was one of 287 inmates who got a few months off prison sentences for helping clean up after hurricanes Katrina and Rita under Barbour’s 2006 order.

Twenty-eight-year-old Joseph Michael Goff was sentenced to 20 years in 2003 in a former classmate’s death. The Sun Herald newspaper reported on his release Friday and the order’s 130-day reduction.

Barbour spokeswoman Laura Hipp says he had nothing to do with most of the time lopped off Goff’s sentence — more than eight years. That came from laws allowing reductions for working in prison, going to classes and other activities.

The Associated Press

Click video to hear audio