In 1994 The "Truth in Sentencing" Act passed in Missouri, ensuring that individuals convicted of a Class A Felony serve 85% of their sentence before being parole eligible.


How it began:

  • Federal funding was offered for states to adopt mandatory minimum of 85%
  • Program is no longer federally funded
  • States did not adopt the often shorter federal sentencing guidelines, so Missouri actually pays for longer incarcerations than the federal government does for Class A felonies

Who it effects:

  • First time violent offenders convicted of a Class A felony
  • Assault, Robbery (with or without a weapon) and Arson are Class A felonies.  Other crimes, such as murder, rape, and child molestation are also Class A felonies, but our proposal excludes the early release of rapists and child molesters.

What it's changed in Missouri:

  • Highest per capital rates of incarceration
  • Growth of prison population has increased almost 9 times in last 30 years
  • 5,000 inmates were in the Missouri system in the early 1980's
  • Over 33,000 incarcerated individuals are in the system today
  • 11,000 convicted individuals are in county jails awaiting prison bed space
  • Cost of Corrections: 220 million in 1994
  • Cost of Corrections: 680 million in 2014 (budgeted).  The DOC has gone over its budget during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year for several years in a row.  In order to keep the Department of Corrections running, those funds are being taken (silently and out of the public view) from other departments.
Our country’s mandatory minimum laws reflect a Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all approach, which undermines the Constitutional Separation of Powers, violates our bedrock principle that people should be treated as individuals and cost the taxpayers money without making them any safer.
— Rand Paul, U.S. Senator