Mississippi lawmakers examining prison issues, expenses

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi judges and prosecutors say their jobs are difficult because they often can’t give definite answers about how long a convict will remain in prison.

They tell lawmakers that crime victims want firm answers about the expected incarceration time for convicted criminals, and the convicts themselves want answers, too.

Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon says Mississippi laws often result in “catch-and-release” because some inmates spend so little time in custody, even if judges set stiff sentences. Some prisoners can earn time off for good behavior.

Gordon was among those speaking Tuesday at the Capitol to members of two state House committees that are looking at ways to control prison costs.

Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson says his committee will explore many ideas before the 2013 legislative starts in January.