HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - For the first time, inmates at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution met face to face with representatives from and organizations on Thursday at a resource fair aimed at increasing success after release.
The resource fair was made available to approximately 100 inmates in the pre-release program at the Leakesville prison. Sixteen participants, including Trustmark Bank, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Mar-Jac Poultry, Pine Belt Mental Health, WIN Job Center and Jones County Junior College, set up tables for inmates to browse and receive information, according to a Mississippi Department of Corrections press release.
This is another example of our efforts to help inmates have a better chance at success upon release," said Commissioner Pelicia E. Hall. "Through this and many other programs, we will continue to find ways to help inmates prepare for reintegration into society. Providing programs like this goes a long way toward helping offenders hopefully lead productive lives and reduce their chances of returning to the prison system."
Pre-Release program director Lisa L. Herndon modeled the fair after a similar program in Yazoo County and plans to hold a fair every six months.
"We are providing this information to these offenders in hopes of giving them options on what can be done to assist them when they are released from prison," Herndon said. "Hopefully, they will take this information and see that they have others ways of taking care of their needs instead of breaking the law."
William Duncan, a banker and community re-investment coordinator for Trustmark Bank, participated in the fair.
"This is a great opportunity for the inmates to get off on the right path when they are released," Duncan said. "So many things have changed in banking. We will provide information to help them set up accounts and be financially literate. An important key for their success will be understanding their credit and hopefully they will not fall into bad situations that would lead them back to prison."