JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - After a massive lobbying effort by local officials, private citizens and charitable groups, the Mississippi Department of Corrections has reversed a plan to close four inmate work centers around the state.
MDOC Commissioner Christopher Epps said the original decision to save money by closing the centers was a difficult one to make.
"I never wanted to close these centers, and only made the call after exhausting MDOC's options," Epps said. "I never stopped thinking about the impact on staff, the communities and the public in general. MDOC has always wanted to maintain a good relationship with local communities."
The four centers were set to close July 15th, including one in George County. The trustys housed at the center do jobs like cleanup and beautification in the communities where they're located. Officials say that free labor saves taxpayers millions each year.
"Being a good steward of taxpayers' money while maintaining public safety is still my priority," Epps said. "We will keep the number of offenders at these centers at the best population we can."
The other work centers receiving a reprieve Monday are the Bolivar County Community Work Center in Rosedale, the Yazoo County Community Work Center in Yazoo City, and the Jefferson County Community Work Center in Fayette.