Possible changes are in store for Missouri’s probation and parole system which could save the state millions of dollars and reduce the prison population by hundreds of inmate.

The Missouri House committee is reviewing recommendations from a special state task force which include officials from the legislative, executive and judicial branches.  The group said the recommendations are intended to improve public safety, hold offenders accountable and control costs.

State Supreme Court Judge William Ray Price presented the recommendations to the House committee Wednesday said “The goal is to reform behavior while also controlling costs.”

The recommendations could save $7.7 million to $16.6 million over five years while reducing the prison population by 245 to 677 inmates.

"We are trying to achieve better results for the safety of the Missouri people at a lower expense. It's not a question about being soft on crime or hard on crime. It's a question of being smart on crime to get the best results for our people at the lowest expense."

Six policy recommendations were made:

  • Allow people who are on probation or parole to have their supervision period reduced by 30 days for every 30 days that they comply with their requirements.
  • Permit probation and parole officers to levy brief jail stays for violations — limited to no more than 48 hours the first time and capped at a total of 15 days. The state would reimburse counties $30 per day for holding people in their jails.
  • Create an option for 120-day "shock" incarceration when probation is revoked. It would be limited to people convicted of nonviolent crimes, who commit technical violations that do not involve a new arrest or conviction. It would not be used when probation is revoked for absconding, violating stay-away orders or weapons violations.
  • Establish a new oversight committee that includes officials from throughout state government.
  • Approve legislation emphasizing the right of restitution for crime victims.
  • Revise the state's criminal code.

Price said, "We want to have rewards for people who do well. We want to have swift and certain sanction for those that don't to reform behavior."