|“For most of my life, I wanted to have my own business as a makeup artist,” Stewart said. “But Mississippi’s laws that required a license that was unrelated to the profession made that dream impossible. It was cost and time prohibitive. With this change, I will now be able to start a business, better provide for my family, and help give women the confidence they need to see themselves in a different way.”
In another significant move, the legislature continued their path toward reforming the state’s justice system.
Senate Bill 2795 will provide parole eligibility for a new category of offenses.
Parole eligibility does not mean automatic release. It means their case will go before the Parole Board, a five-member board appointed by the governor, before a decision is made. I recently talked with the board about what goes into each decision. No decision is made lightly. Public safety is their number one concern.
“We look to see if they are likely to get out and harm someone else. If I feel like they are a danger to the public, I will vote not to parole,” said Jim Cooper, a board member.
On any given case, the board may talk with those who are incarcerated, law enforcement, judges, district attorneys, and victims and their families. They look at rule violations in prison, family support for those that are incarcerated, and if they have a good job opportunity and a place to live following parole.
By expanding parole eligibility, the state can create incentives for good behavior and rehabilitation in prison and to safely alleviate the pressure of overcrowding in Mississippi’s prisons.
We believe in providing second chances. It will save taxpayer money, and it is the right thing to do when it has been earned.