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Dear [Decision Maker],
I live in your district and I am writing in support of SB 748 and HB 1739. These two bills are an evidence-based, cost-saving solution to our crime and prison problems, and I urge you to support them and vote yes on them when the opportunity arises. Missouri's sentencing laws need improvement. Our prisons are currently at capacity, and our corrections budget has shot up 24 percent since 2007. We have the 8th biggest prison population in the country, yet we are still suffering from problems with opioids and violent crime. We have to get smarter about public safety, and that starts by making sure we aren't wasting tax dollars on people who don't need to go to prison, or don't need to stay there as long as current law requires. We should be focusing our resources on more treatment, more community and victim support, and more sentencing options.SB 748 and HB 1739 would give judges flexibility to depart from the statutory minimums and minimum prison terms for offenders who meet strict and narrow criteria, so long as the minimum prison term required by law is unjust or unnecessary to keep the public safe. We all expect to be treated like individuals when we go to court. One-size-fits-all minimum sentences don't fit every person or every case and often result in unjust prison terms that also don't make us safer. Missouri judges know each offender best, and they should have more discretion than they do now to make sure the punishment fits the crime and the unique circumstances of each individual offender. SB 748 and HB 1739 do not create any new mandates for judges, but they do allow judges to tailor punishments to fit each offender's specific needs and role in the crime. I am not against prison or punishment, and neither are these bills. This bill is about justice and efficiency, not leniency. I believe this bill will save us money and make our communities much safer. I hope you will support SB 748 and HB 1739 and advance the bills as soon as possible. Thank you for your time, consideration, and dedicated service to our district.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]