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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

MS group backs health-center alternative to incarceration

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024   

Mississippi prisons often lack resources to treat people who are incarcerated with substance-use disorders adequately but a nonprofit organization is offering alternative programs focused on treatment instead of incarceration.

The Magnolia State has one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation, with more than 1,000 people per 100,000 residents behind bars.

Christina Dent, founder and president of End It For Good, said they invite people to support approaches to drugs prioritizing life, preserving families and promoting public safety.

"We do education out in the community - with citizens, with advocates, with policymakers - to help them understand why a punitive criminal justice approach to drugs and addiction has not produced good results and why a health-centered approach would produce much better results," Dent explained.

It is estimated more than 578,000 people in state and federal prisons in 2022 had a substance-use disorder in the year prior to their admission, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.

Dent emphasized they recommend lawmakers look at other alternatives to stop reactionary approaches resulting in Mississippians paying harsher penalties for crimes such as drug possession.

"Shift away from increasing penalties," Dent urged. "Another thing that we could do would be to reduce penalties or recategorize penalties for something like drug possession. We would love to see a shift from treating drug possession as potentially a felony to drug possession being a misdemeanor. "

Dent noted such an alternative approach would allow individuals impacted to more easily regain employment, support their families and reintegrate into society. She added felony convictions create lifelong barriers to employment and self-sufficiency.


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