Sid Salter: MDOC, local leaders at political fork of road

When considering the future of the Joint State County Work program and the impact that program – or the lack of it – has on the taxpayers, the Mississippi Department of Corrections and local governments eventually end up at cross purposes.

Local governments need and want to offer essential services like garbage pickup, maintenance and upkeep of public facilities, upkeep and repair of public vehicles and other labor intensive tasks. Those governments want and need to get those tasks performed at the lowest possible cost and with the least prospect of local tax increases.

And let’s face it, there’s a lot of political appeal to the simple pitch of telling law abiding taxpayers that those tasks are being performed by cheap prison inmate laborers.