Marion Co. sheriff braces for state inmate cuts - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Marion Co. sheriff braces for state inmate cuts

MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - If you drive around Marion County, you are likely to see inmates doing constructive work.

"They actually come down here in a trustee status and go out in the community," said Marion County Sheriff Berkley Hall. "They can work garbage trucks, state highway litter programs, court rooms and stuff like that."

They do it as part of the Joint County State Work Program. Marion County houses 79 women and five men in the program. Their work saves tax payers money and the state pays the county $20 a day for each inmate.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner Christopher Epps said counties will no longer be paid to house those inmates after March 15th as part of budget cuts.

"Our budgets won't allow us to replace them," said Hall. "Based on the numbers today, you're talking about revenue of about $620,000 that I'll be getting cut out of."

Construction work is being completed now on the addition to the correctional facility. Sheriff Hall said the county depends on the money from state inmates to pay off bonds.

"We were over crowded in our county jail and little did we know this was going to come," Hall said. "We're talking about opening the doors on it in probably less than two weeks."

Sheriff Hall did not say if he would keep the inmates or send them back to Jackson, but he said his department will have to come up with other ways to bring in that missing revenue.

"Where there's a will there's a way. I always feel like there is and we'll find some way to either get federal women inmates or look at something to generate this revenue back," said Hall.


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