Inmate work release program pros and cons

NOXUBEE COUNTY, Miss.(WCBI) – Work release programs are nothing new.

Inmates, preparing to get out of jail, leave the hard walls of confinement for a few hours a day to do various jobs throughout the community.

“They keep us from hiring multiple people. They are a valuable asset to the community. They save the city a bunch of money. Basically we’re helping with free labor and it also helps them with their time,” said Macon Police Chief Divine Beck.

Usually trustees can be seen cutting grass, gardening and picking up trash.

“The CWC has been here for 16, 18 years. It’s good, it helps the out the city a lot it helps out the county a lot,” said Macon Street Commissioner Willie Dixon.

Dixon says though the program can be a blessing it can also be a curse.

“Some of them are good but once you put a little bit of trust in them they take advantage of it. This guy, that walked away yesterday afternoon you never thought he would do this. Seemed like a real nice guy but I mean he’s an inmate,” said Dixon.

Beck says, through most programs, inmates receive time off their sentence for assisting the area.

“We’ve got to think about that they are none violent offenders. Yes I can stick with the guy writing the bad checks or sold drugs to the community versus the rapist or murderer in your community or a pedophile in your community doing work that they do,”said Beck.

“He wasn’t locked up for nothing,”said Dixon.

Dixon says it could be time for a change.

“I’m thinking I’m going to go to my board and suggest some stuff to them. May be we can hire people for six months of the year, we don’t need the inmates. I don’t think it’s even worth it now. It’s not worth the headache and the hassle that we have. If we can get rid of it we should. I’m hoping my board will take my suggestion on that and I think they will,”said Dixon.

The Mississippi Department Of Corrections Facebook page shows 5 trustee have escaped custody in the last month.

Categories: Local News

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