• 33,000 men and women are incarcerated in Missouri prisons
  • 11,000 more are waiting in county jails for space to "open up"
  • First time offenders have no incentive for good behavior under the 85% Law
  • First time offenders with no hope of release before 85% of their sentence is over will most likely adapt to the prison culture for survival
  • 98% of offenders will reenter society
  • Rehabilitaion in the prison system is practically non-existent
  • Violence breeds violence. The longer first time offenders are in prison, the more likely they will adapt to the "prison lifestyle"
  • Violence would be reduced in prison if first time offenders had the ability to earn early release through practicing good behavior.
  • The 2014 budget for the Missouri DOC is almost $680 million
  • 1 in 28 kids has a parent in prison in the US
  • Single parent households use more government assistance
  • Inmates are a drain on the entire state budget.
  • First time offenders who would qualify for release at 50% can become productive members of society instead of a burden to taxpayers.
  • Taxpayers, families, communities, and the Department of Corrections would benefit from reform

It makes no sense to warehouse first time offenders of crimes such as robbery and assault for decades when prison overcrowding is a serious problem that affects our communities on two fronts.  First, with county jails being used to house 11,000 sentenced felons who should be in prisons, there is less room and there are fewer resources for our hometown law enforcement agencies to keep us safe.  Secondly, the Division of Probation and Parole is unable to send parole violators (proven re-offenders) back to prison because there is no place to put them.  Wouldn't it make more sense to allow first time offenders to earn their way out at 50% by showing good behavior than to allow repeat offenders to continue to walk our streets?