Mo. Senate barely OKs prison shrinking plan

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have narrowly
approved legislation designed to save money by keeping people
convicted of minor felonies out of prison.
      The legislation was passed 18-13 on Thursday and moves to the
House. Critics say the bill would keep some people out of prison
who belong there. Others are worried about the impact of the bill
on local governments.
      Under the bill, those convicted of the most minor felonies would
not go to prison unless they had two other felonies. People
convicted of more serious felonies for certain offenses could not
be sentenced to prison unless they have a previous conviction.
      Instead, people would be put in county jails, placed on
probation or handled by special treatment courts.
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