By Alisa Nelson
A task force charged with overhauling Missouri’s criminal justice system is expected to make policy recommendations by November. It was created to find ways to make better use of state funding of the system and is working with the Council of State Governments to develop suggestions.
The state ranks 8th highest among all states in the rate at which it imprisons its people, including the greatest increase nationwide in its incarceration of women. Missouri has about 34,000 state prisoners with a cost to taxpayers of at least $20,000 annually per inmate.
The panel could be considering whether to allow judges to better assess which defendants must be jailed before their court trial and which ones are not a flight risk. This change could free up millions in state funding that goes to Missouri counties for jailing inmates prior to their trial.
Task force members will meet Tuesday at the state Department of Mental Health in Jefferson City at 1 p.m. to finalize some of its data gathering and analysis.