The pilot program was first launched in 2021 in Rankin County. The new legislation expands this pilot program to Harrison and Lee Counties.
On Monday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced the signing of House Bill 586 into law. The legislation expands an existing pilot program that allows for non-violent inmates serving the final year of their sentence to take advantage of work opportunities outside of their respective prison facilities.
The new law will expand the pilot program launched in 2021 in Rankin County to include Harrison and Lee Counties.
In a release, Governor Reeves said this legislation offers a wonderful opportunity to Mississippians who are seeking a second chance at life.
“Dignified work has the potential to offer new beginnings and I am proud to sign this legislation helping these incarcerated individuals reenter society and develop new skills and experiences that will allow them to rejoin their communities more smoothly,” Reeves said.
During the pilot phase of the program, the law states that there is a limit of twenty-five people in the program at a time.
The sheriff will collect and maintain data which will be shared semiannually with the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) and the Corrections and Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force in sortable electronic format. The first report will be made before January 15, 2002, and in six-month intervals after.
Any person who has been sentenced to confinement in jail or who has been sentenced for a felony conviction but is confined in a jail may request assignment to the work release program established under this act. Admission to the program shall be in the discretion of the sheriff.
No offender is eligible for this program if they have more than one year remaining on their sentence.
HB 586 will take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2022.
You can read a full copy of HB 586 below.