WLOX Editorial - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX Editorial

Mississippi spends too much money on inmates

First off we do not condone any dangerous criminal being released from our jails. However, the state of Mississippi is in a crisis concerning the housing of state inmates. One of the problems that recently surfaced, is that the State Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps says he can no longer pay counties for housing state inmates.

Currently the state pays counties $20 a day to house prisoners in a joint county-state work program. You could say well just ship these prisoners off to Parchman. But the counties really don't want to do that, because these prisoners provide thousands and thousands of dollars in free labor. Epps says the counties could just absorb the cost of housing these inmates, but the counties say they don't have that money budgeted.

We think there's another solution. Why not put the inmates who are non-violent and serving time for minor convictions in a supervised work-furlough program, where they spend the night at home, but during the day they continue to provide free labor. Of course, if they broke the rules, they would go back to Parchman.

It just seems to us that we are going to have to come up with alternative ideas like this one to solve this budget crisis. Mississippi for too long has been spending too much money for jail cells and in these tough economic times, that money is much needed in other areas like education.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to editorials@wlox.com, or post your comments below.

David Vincent
WLOX-TV General Manager

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