More Work, Less Prison Time

Nonviolent prisoners can now reduce their sentences in exchange for a hard day's work. Governor Haley Barbour signed a new bill Thursday, which says these prisoners can now earn a day off their sentences for every day they work in trustee programs.

Local law enforcement officials believe not only is the new bill good for prisoners, but for the community as well.

Before Thursday, these inmate workers earned one day off their prison sentence for every three days they worked as a trusty.

But starting now, they're seeing each new day as one day closer to a fresh start...

"You'll feel appreciated for your work you know. I mean, they're giving you something for your work instead of just working for nothing," inmate Marlos Magee said.

"It's gonna give them a great incentive to get up and go to work because they're gonna want to. 30 for 30? I mean, that's a wonderful thing, you know," inmate Johnny McBride said .

And these guys aren't the only ones excited.

Many law enforcement officials believe the new bill will make the prison system more efficient and more effective.

"We've got a problem with overcrowding in this state. We've got a problem in this jail. We've got over 900 and something people on a daily basis that we keep in this jail. That costs the taxpayers money. We've got to find a solution to our overcrowding problem in Mississippi," said Harrison County sheriff George Payne.

Sheriff Payne believes building a work incentive will give these inmates hope for the future while serving the community.

He says it will also create a "model" prisoner, a person who will be a more productive community member in the future.

"I'm just glad somebody finally woke up and give these guys a chance that they can have something to look forward to. And they are looking forward to it. They're excited about it," said Harrison County Sgt. Alvin King.

The new bill goes into effect immediately.

Another bill signed Thursday would allow non-violent inmates who are terminally ill, to serve out their sentence at home under the supervision of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

That bill is expected to take effect July 1st.