Mississippi counties opt for free state inmate labor

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Even though the state stopped paying counties to house Joint State County Work Program inmates in county jails, the county facilities are still housing them for the free labor.

Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee tells The Clarion-Ledger it would have cost the county a lot more to replace the workers than what it costs to house them.

Last year, the Department of Corrections citing budget concerns, shut down the paid program. However, under the new program, counties could continue to use state inmates in a work program without reimbursement. Each county in the new program provides alcohol and drug treatment and GED programs while the state pays for all medical care. MDOC Commissioner Marshall Fisher said the change would save about $3.2 million.