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Missouri House approves fewer in-person parole hearings

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House has voted to no longer allow inmates to object to the use of videoconferencing for parole hearings.

The bill, approved Monday in a 114-33 vote, would still allow victims or victims’ families to object to video conferencing if the parole board did not want to conduct the hearing in person. Currently, offenders can also veto that choice.

The bill would also remove a requirement that the board conducts an in-person interview with the offender.

Proponents say the change could save the state money and protect victims from having to face offenders.

Opponents say the lack of a face-to-face hearing could hurt people’s ability to demonstrate remorse or reform, and therefore earn parole.

The bill is now in the Senate.