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Mississippi paroling fewer inmates despite more eligibility

Brian Turner

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Parole Board chairman says the state is releasing fewer inmates because the board is looking more closely at the inmates' records. Jeffrey Belk spoke to a legislative committee Tuesday. He says board members pay attention to how many inmates receive parole, but they don't let the numbers drive their decisions. A 2021 state law expanded parole eligibility, but the board is releasing fewer inmates than it did before the changes were enacted. Senate Corrections Vice Chairman Daniel Sparks says he's concerned about the decrease in parole because the prison population could increase over time. Mississippi prisons have had problems hiring and keeping staff.