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State legislature asks for solutions to reduce number of repeat offenders

November 15, 2001
By: Julian Pecquet
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The rising prison population in Missouri has some legislators looking at new ways to deal with criminals. The House Interim Committee on Institutional and Sentencing Alternatives met for the fourth and last time on Thursday.

The committee was formed to investigate possible solutions to the growing number of repeat offenders and will provide some observations and recommendations to the state legislature.

Those recommendations are:

- The legislature should enact a criminal record expungement statute. This would make the records of certain first time, nonviolent offenders who remain crime-free for 10 years unavailable to potential employers.

- The Dual Jurisdiction Statute should be revised to allow the juvenile court to retain jurisdiction over a child's case even after the juvenile has been certified to stand trial before the criminal court.

- The Department of Corrections should expand its cooperation with state and local agencies to promote employment opportunities for the released inmates.

- The Department of Corrections should explore community sentencing, without incarceration, as well as treatment opportunities for both substance abuse and disciplinary problems.