MDOC says state inmates could be let out on the streets - - Jackson, MS

MDOC says state inmates could be let out on the streets

Pearl, MS -- The Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner, Christopher Epps held a meeting on Tues. with sheriffs from across the state to talk about their budget situation.

He says there is a possibility that corrections won't see the nearly $22 million that was promised to them from the state.

As a result, state inmates housed in county jails could be released back on the street.

Governor Haley Barbour has cut about $458 million for fiscal year 2010. This means a lot of funding that MDOC was anticipating for this year will not come through.

The House and Senate passed a bill that would restore $79 million to these cuts, but the money would be primarily used for secondary education. However, the Governor has said he will veto this bill because community colleges and corrections need more funding.

This news comes at a time while Hinds Co. just built the new corrections facility in Raymond, MS. Hinds Co. Sheriff Malcolm McMillin has said a slice in revenues will severely put a dent in inmates doing work at this facility if they have to be released.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Epps says non of these inmates have been convicted of violent crimes, but rather minor offenses.

Currently, about 840 state inmates are housed in local jails.  Each of those inmates costs the state around $20 a day plus medical expenses.

The Commissioner says he doesn't know for certain if these funds won't be provided, but he wanted to notify sheriffs around the state about this now rather than later.

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