Cities, counties and sheriffs: Keep inmate work program

Representatives of cities, counties and sheriffs condemned the decision by Mississippi Department of Corrections to shut down the Joint State-County Work Program, which they say will take away $23 million from local governments.

The Mississippi Association of Supervisors, the Mississippi Municipal League and the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Association called today for Gov. Phil Bryant and state legislators to oppose MDOC Commissioner Marshall Fisher’s decision to end the program.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is discussing alternatives with counties to keep free inmate labor when the Joint State County Work Programs begins phasing out on Aug. 1.

“With the removal of this program, counties and municipalities will have to hire workers to make up for the loss of labor, thus requiring local governments to raise taxes in order to provide funding for the previously filled positions, as well as provide these new employees with benefits and retirement,” the state associations said in a statement.