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Freeing 89 terminally ill inmates saved state $5M





JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Releasing 89 terminally ill inmates has saved Mississippi about $5 million over seven years, corrections officials say. 




About $3.8 million of the savings was in medical costs and the rest was the cost of incarceration, The Clarion-Ledger reported. 




Releasing terminally ill prisoners lets the state avoid costly health treatments and is more humane for inmates facing their final days, officials say. Some were released to their homes, others to care facilities. 




"I wouldn't change anything with the process," said Dr. Gloria Perry, the Mississippi Department of Corrections Chief Medical Officer. 




The department said 18 of those released are still alive, but most die within four months. 




Eight have been sent back to prison for additional offenses, but Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said he thinks the program has done well. 




The state could release at least 25 more inmates under a proposed bill to extend the law to anyone who is bedridden. "We will be supporting that legislation," Epps said. 




The released inmates were just a fraction of the 21,400 prisoners in the state's corrections system and of those released early. But they are among the most expensive to keep behind bars, so their release often yields the biggest savings. 




The program does have opponents. 




"I can understand the cost factor and the humane thing of letting these inmates be with their family, but the victims would have liked to be with their loved ones," said Carolyn Clayton of Saltillo, founder of the victims' advocate group Survival Inc.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment bravesfan commented at 10/3/2011 10:07:00 AM:

i guess they forgot to mention the hundreds upon hundreds of inmates they are turning out on early release that are not termanilly ill. A lot of those you will see in the packet every week. AGAIN. One was recently charged with murder and was out on early release. Explain that one there Mr. Epps!!


Article Comment hope commented at 10/3/2011 10:23:00 AM:

Money is having influence on the Supreme court and now it's winning out over justice.


Article Comment kj commented at 10/3/2011 12:31:00 PM:

Money has been "winning" over justice for a long time.


Article Comment ml2010 commented at 10/3/2011 1:52:00 PM:

How about we release the non violent drug offenders. You have Forest and kitchens giving out 30 yr sentences for 1st time offenders. This seems like a logical place to start if you want to save money. You have young people in columbus,ms getting 30 years but if they lived in almost any other state they would receive around 5 years. At the same time you have violent criminals doing less time then small time drug dealers. I really don't get it.


Article Comment misscountrygirl commented at 10/3/2011 6:55:00 PM:

how are you gonna let criminals out of prision, what about the ones that raped children and are claiming to be sick are bedridden are you gonna let them out as well? if you do when one of your grandchildren are children get raped from some trying to save some money then you will see how i felt when my daughter got rapped and your talking about letting bedridden people out of prision. i think you need to think a little harder on this before someone gets killed for trying to save there family because one of the prisioners break into there home, rob a store are even go back and do the same thing they did to get in there in the first place.


Article Comment bravesfan commented at 10/3/2011 10:19:00 PM:

Ml2010.... Couldn't have said it better myself. You don't get it. All you see is 30. That's not anywhere near the actual time they serve. They don't serve but 25% of the 30 years. So now you've cut it 7.5 year. They give you 30 days good time for every 30 days in. So now it's cut to 3.25. Then at the 2 year mark they qualify for early release parole. So the 30 years is 2. You can typically say it's up to 4-6 on a second offense and habitual time on a 3rd offense. Eveybody wants to tag the recent shootings as drug related or drug motivated offenses. So please define for us "non violent" drug offender? If you don't want to deal with the courts here's a hint..... Dont involve yourself in drugs!!!!!


Article Comment bravesfan commented at 10/3/2011 10:28:00 PM:

People need to get off the fence. We gripe and complain about shootings from gangs and all the drugs in our community and then we get on here and call out forrest and judge kitchens for being firm with them when they do get caught. Either you want something done or you don't. You get on here and say we shouldn't dish out harsh sentences for small time dealers. Well guess what. Big time dealers weren't born big time dealers. At one point, they were small time. So the next time one of these " small time" dealers shoots up the place, will it then and only then be ok to get a little tough with them?


Article Comment raider commented at 10/3/2011 11:37:00 PM:

@bravesfan - I don't think you get it! He said NON-VIOLENT. A non-violent drug offender is one that is involved in a drug crime without committing a violent act. You went from non-violent to dealers shooting up the place without taking a breath.

Our prisons are filled with NON-violent drug users. The majority of the people have no problem with drug offenders that are involved in VIOLENT crimes recieving long prison sentences but I am with ml2010, we need to stop sentencing NON-violent drug users to long prison sentences. Even that 3.25 years that you worked out is a ridiculous sentence for a first or second offense for non-violent drug users. It's really a waste a tax payer dollars. We are having to release violent prisoners early so that we can make room for non-violent drug users to serve 3 years in jail. It's stupid.


Article Comment bravesfan commented at 10/4/2011 7:39:00 AM:

I'll remember you said that the next time one breaks into your house and fake your flat screen. It takes about 2.2 seconds for what you call a non violent drug dealer/user to become violent. You know that as well as I do. You can't predict the behavioral changes of a person high or strung out on dope. But that's fine , keep coddling these people. When your house gets broken into or someone in your family gets caught in the crossfire, you'll change your tune.


Article Comment bravesfan commented at 10/4/2011 7:46:00 AM:

And by the way, lowndes county alone has just under 1500 people on probation or parole right now. It's not like they're in jail as it is. And guess what, they're steadily committing crimes while they're out. Ask anybody in law enforcement they will tell you. I did. Talked to one last night. Told me they arrested two over the weekend on a violent crime, assault, got cocaine off of one of them and they were both on probation for burglary. Sleep well my friends !!


Article Comment ml2010 commented at 10/4/2011 6:42:00 PM:

braves fan
Have you ever heard of anyone robbing someone to buy weed? We allow a small time drug dealer to rack up 3 or 4 or 5 sale charges before we pick them up just to give them more time. The people I am speaking of are selling ounces of weed and small amounts of cocaine. Cocaine which was legal at one point in our history while liquor was illegal. Where do you live that all these people are breaking in houses. Where I live to my knowledge there has not been one robbery in the 7 years I have been in my house. There will always be crime even if there were no drugs or liquor in the world.


Article Comment keepingitfair commented at 10/6/2011 3:31:00 PM:

ml2010, Violent or non violent it doesn't make any differance. These people broke the law. The judges sentences people to send a message to others that if you break the law and sell drugs you will get this time. The drug dealers look at it and say "30 years I'll still take the chance". This is a deterrent to sell drugs, if the judge only gave them 5 years out in 1 we would have more drug dealers than you could shake a stick at. Judge Kitchens is just trying to keep our community safe. Judge, keep up the good work.


Article Comment ml2010 commented at 10/7/2011 2:25:00 PM:

So should we send a message to speeders with 30 yr sentences. We have more of them then you can shake a stick at. lmao!


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