Shortening non-violent criminal sentences

The Missouri House on Tuesday gave first-round approval to legislation that could shorten the sentences of some criminals who are placed on probation or parole. Under the legislation, non-violent parolees or probationers would receive 30 days of credit toward their sentence for every month they go without a violation.

The idea is to save taxpayers' money and to free up badly-needed prison space for violent offenders. "Seventy-one percent of the people in Missouri's penitentiaries are there for non-violent violations of probation and parole: a dirty urine, they didn't show up for their probation hearing, It costs so much to incarcerate these people," says University City Rep. Rory Ellinger.

The bill is projected to save the state nearly a million dollars by the end of 2017. No one spoke against the bill in the House, but some have questioned the impact on county jails and the costs the incur when housing state prisoners.