Missouri Chief Justice Richard Teitelman has urged legislators to make changes to the state’s probation and parole systems that potentially could save the state millions of dollars, reports the Associated Press. He favors measures to reduce the number of people in prison for probation and parole violations. “I support your efforts to help make sentencing practices more cost-effective, helping Missouri to become [ ] both tough and smart on crime,” Teitelman told a joint session of the House and Senate.
A group that included lawmakers, department heads and two judges recommended changes to Missouri’s sentencing laws in a December report. Teitelman was not part of the group, but the Supreme Court was represented by former Chief Justice William Ray Price Jr. The group said the state should shorten the length of probation and parole terms and allow people who violate their probation or parole to serve shorter jail sentences. Such violations accounted for more than 40 percent of all admission to Missouri prisons in 2010, with prisoners spending an average of 10 months behind bars.