Missouri plan would undo some minimum prison sentences

House speaker wants to fix "broken" system
prison bars

A proposal to revise Missouri’s sentencing laws has some powerful support.

Missouri House leaders are backing legislation that could undo mandatory minimum sentencing legislation enacted decades ago.

Newly-elected House Speaker Elijah Haahr says he wants to fix “a broken criminal justice system” that he says places a lot of people in prison who could instead be working.

Haahr is supporting a bill by House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith. It would let judges exempt some nonviolent offenders from laws requiring them to serve 40, 50 or 80 percent of their sentences.

Smith says his measure could provide better rehabilitation while also avoiding the cost of having to build new prisons.

Congress also has been focused on sentencing laws. President Donald Trump recently signed a bill reducing sentences for some federal drug offenders and boosting prison rehabilitation programs.