Missouri seeks to analyze criminal sentences

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri is seeking outside help for an analysis of it criminal sentencing practices, with the goal of diverting more people from prison to specialized probation and treatment programs.

Supreme Court Judge William Ray Price Jr. says Missouri hopes that The Pew Center on the States will be able to conduct a date-based analysis of prison populations, alternative sentencing programs and recidivism rates. It already has done so in several other states. Arkansas and Kentucky followed the center's recommendations and enacted new sentencing laws this year that are projected to save millions of dollars in long-term prison costs.

Missouri last revamped its sentencing laws in 2003 to shorten the prison term for some low-level felonies and allow greater use of probation and treatment programs.

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