Inmate work programs providing benefits for Leake Co. community, - - Jackson, MS

Inmate work programs providing benefits for Leake Co. community, churches

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
CARTHAGE, MS (Mississippi News Now) - A program providing free labor for counties, via inmates will be shut down this summer. State corrections leaders are shutting down the Joint State County Work Programs, saying it will save the state over $3 Million.

The Leake County Sheriff's Department has developed a church program, through their state inmate work program, where the prisoners work regularly on the properties of churches in the county.

Many of the inmates have learned carpentry skills they will use to adapt back into society when they're released.

"This program is a win win situation," said Countyline Baptist Church Treasurer Morris Cockrell. "Why anybody in their right mind would stop something that works?"

The inmates are currently refurbishing the inside of Greenwood Chapel, installing a new ceiling, window frames, and walls and wood molding.

"There's a community pulling together," said Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner. "It works positively for the community. Public relations from the Sheriff's office, from the inmates. These are people that made mistakes, but they're not necessarily bad people."

Department of Corrections Commissioner Marshal Fisher has said he's working on several options to let the Sheriffs keep the free labor on a case by case basis.  

One option would to offer them mobile work crews where inmates are brought in from state work centers. Another option is to let them keep inmates, but not be compensated for it.  

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