Mississippi governor supports criminal sentencing reforms

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s conservative Republican governor, who once sought longer prison sentences for criminals, says he’s changed his mind and now wants to make his state’s criminal justice system less punitive.

Gov. Phil Bryant said so Tuesday at a meeting to build support for sentencing reforms.

The move comes as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he will concede to President Donald Trump’s push to reduce some federal sentences. Bryant is an outspoken Trump supporter.

Proposed changes for Mississippi have yet to be specified, but could include allowing people to wipe out criminal records and letting officials reconsider long sentences. Other possibilities include improving re-entry programs for prisoners, trying to divert people who are mentally ill and cutting drug sentences.

Some conservative groups have been seeking less punitive sentences.

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