Marion County jail facing budget cuts to work program - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Marion County jail facing budget cuts to work program

MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Marion - Walthall Regional County Jail is one of 33 jails across the state losing funding for housing inmates in the Joint County State Work Program.

 Marion County Sheriff Berkley Hall is trying to figure out how he will operate the sheriff's department with that revenue.

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

Marion County houses 79 women and 5 men in the program. Their work saves tax payers money. On top of that, the state pays the county $20 a day for each inmate.

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps said counties will no longer be paid to house those inmates after March 15 because of budget cuts.

"To say that those people are going to be replaced once they pull them," said Hall, "our budgets won't allow us to replace them. Based on the numbers today, you're talking about a 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. Hall says the county depends on the money from state inmates to pay off bonds.

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

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 missing revenue.

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