MDOC expands program designed to help inmates improve their live - - Jackson, MS

MDOC expands program designed to help inmates improve their lives

PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With the help of volunteers and mental health staffers, the Mississippi Department of Corrections has expanded a program to help inmates understand the behavior that led them to prison. 

MDOC officials also hope the program will help female and male inmates learn how to cope while in prison and how to stay out of prison.

The program, called the 1A Men's or the 1A Women's Program at the Central Mississippi Correctional  Facility in Pearl, combines faith based values with mental health and is available for inmates with life sentences and those within a year of release.

The women's program has been ongoing since 2009. The men's program began in January.

70 inmates have completed the program this year.

"The program is another example of our goal to provide meaningful rehabilitation," said Commissioner Pelicia Hall. "For the offenders who have life sentences, they can still help society through this program by becoming positive influences on offenders who are released and giving those offenders a better chance at success. "

One of the recent graduates of the program, 44-year-old Joe S. Jones of Canton, said the program has made a difference in his life and those around him. He is serving two drug sentences, possession of cocaine in Leake County and sale of cocaine in Madison County.

Jones said, "this program is a light in our dark place."

Plans are underway to expand the program from three days a week on a 12 week cycle to a four day a week, five month program.

The goal is to help offenders learn how to identify their destructive patterns of behavior and to give them the tools and skills to make the necessary changes.

The inmates must stay out of trouble and sign a contract promising to follow the program's rules to participate.

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