S.B. 600 institutes disproportionate sentencing requirements that are not needed to effectively prosecute serious crimes, but instead irresponsibly burdens Missouri taxpayers at a time when everyone is tightening their belts. It’s estimated that S.B. 600 will come with an annual price as high as $16 million per year in extra incarceration costs.
Given projections that S.B. 600 would increase Missouri’s prison population by over 2,500, the bill could force the state to spend nearly $500 million on two new prisons, a budget-crippling reality.
For its hefty monetary price-tag, S.B. 600 does not reflect the best evidence about crime deterrence and prevention.
A large body of research indicates that sentence lengths alone have little to no relationship to crime deterrence and recidivism. Certainty of capture and punishment are much stronger measures of recidivism and deterrence.
Requiring judges to sentence people to longer prison terms, regardless of their individual circumstance or the facts of the case, won’t improve public safety, but it will break up families, crowd prisons, and harm taxpayers.
To best deter the crimes S.B. 600 seeks to prevent, Missouri should focus its resources on solving more crimes, not paying for longer sentences.