Jody Owens, the new District Attorney of Hinds County, has a long-standing history of speaking up against discrimination. This lends itself well to his efforts to encourage prison reform in the state of Mississippi.
Jody Owens Believes in Alternatives to Incarceration
Jody Owens became the District Attorney of Hinds County, Mississippi in January. At the swear-in ceremony, he spoke before attendees at the Courthouse. He was there with his aunt Denise Owens, who is the District 3 Chancery Court judge. Jody Owens made it a point to tell everyone that they (he and the rest of the court system) care about being safe and that they will take precautions to always be safe. He received support from Mayor Lumumba during his campaign.
One of the major areas of concern for Jody Owens is that of viewing criminal justice policy through a lens of public safety. He thinks that drug addiction should be treated more like a public health crisis, avoiding just putting those who have addiction issues in jail and instead, getting them the help that they need.
Jody Owens also has expressed that it is his goal to make communities healthier and improve upon public safety matters. When you treat the underlying issues, there’s a greater chance of having safer communities for a longer time period. For instance, Jody Owens gave an interview back in September 2019 in which he stated that he could take a gun away from someone who brought it in, but this won’t fix issues that led to the person getting the gun in the first place.
Some other alternatives to incarceration Jody Owens plans to bring about include special programs for juvenile offenders and veterans, as well as drug courts. He also plans to make the prosecution of violent crimes a priority, which makes sense when you consider that gun violence accounts for many of the crimes in Jackson. He will work towards limiting prosecution for low-level offenses like marijuana possession to cut down on unnecessary incarceration and implement other forms of retribution in some of these cases.
Ongoing Detention Center Issues to Become a Thing of the Past Through the Work of Jody Owens
Jody Owens wishes to tackle the problems that Hinds County Detention Center has had with lengthy pre-trial detention. The pre-trial detention rates tend to be prolonged and this goes against the Constitution. Jody Owens plans to work with local law enforcement and judges to make changes with this issue.