Salter: MDOC and ‘trickle down’ economics

I’m not particularly surprised that Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher is stepping on the toes of local and county government leaders as he attempts to clean up the mess in operating the state’s prison system left behind by the corruption-riddled regime of former Commissioner Chris Epps.

Fisher is the former Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics director who bucked strident opposition from drug manufacturers, politicians, lobbyists and libertarians to get tough legislation passed in the state that required a prescription for law-abiding citizens to purchase pseudoephedrine (a common cold and sinus medicine) as a means to battle the state’s methamphetamine epidemic five years ago….

…But Fisher’s mandate to clean up the state’s correctional system wasn’t predicated on playing nice or with operating that system as a labor broker for local governments. The legitimate state prisoner labor system shouldn’t be both a revenue stream and a free or cheap labor supply for local governments.

Local governments are right about one thing – a workable prison labor system is one that can be a win-win. But only if that system isn’t essentially a state subsidy to a minority of the state’s 82 counties.