Several inmates at the Hinds County Penal Farm sing in the Second Chance Choir. It's one of the extracurricular activities Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis has set up for inmates at the Penal Farm.
There's also education. 39-year-old Alonzo Barnes got his GED there several years ago, while he was in for a drug charge. Inmates like Alonzo, who dropped out of high school, wonder if they would have dropped out at all if their education would have started earlier in life.
"It would have turned me out to be a better person," Barnes says.
The Sheriff throws his full support behind a proposed state/federal partnership. It would provide Mississippi and other states with the resources to provide preschool to all children.
A non-profit called "Fight Crime: Invest in Kids" came to town Wednesday to discuss what it could mean.
"We could stay on the current path we're on now, the status quo, paying $75 billion a year for the two million prisoners locked up, or we can pick a different path and we can spend $75 billion on early education over the course of ten years and see two million more graduates in the U.S.," says "Fight Crime: Invest in Kids" National Director Natasha O'Dell Archer.It's a program that Congress would have to approve.
"I'm gonna be an advocate for it because I think it's a benefit not only to law enforcement, but to taxpayers, of not only this state but this nation, to where it costs us less to educate than it does to incarcerate," Sheriff Lewis says.
"Fight Crime: Invest in Kids" is visiting states across the nation and spreading the message.
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