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Efforts to cut prison population working, not saving money

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Efforts to cut Missouri’s prison population appear to be working, but a new report shows that’s not enough to save the state money.

A recent Sentencing and Corrections Oversight Commission report shows almost 30,000 prisoners have been released since 2012 through programs intended to curb prison time for nonviolent offenders.

The Justice Reinvestment Act creates incentives for offenders to comply with probation and diverts others from prison for some technical violations, and although it has helped keep some offenders out of prison, the report shows housing costs for new sentencings outstrip savings.

Republican state Sen. Bob Dixon of Springfield co-chairs the commission. He says he’s pushing for more money to fund programs in the act in hopes of cutting costs for housing prisoners.

Savings would be used for crime-prevention programs.