Work Center closing could cost Jackson County $1.5 million - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Work Center closing could cost Jackson County $1.5 million

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Jackson County supervisors are gearing up to fight plans to close the Mississippi Department of Corrections work center. MDOC announced last week budget constraints may force it to close three county work centers around the state, including the one in Jackson County.

"It will be a big disadvantage to all counties using it if they close," said Jackson County Supervisor Melton Harris.

Fifty-two MDOC inmates are housed at the Jackson County CWC; 24 of them are assigned to Jackson County. The work center inmates provide a variety of labor for the county doing things like mowing county property, maintaining ball fields, clerical work and housekeeping at courthouse and other county buildings. Other inmates do similar work in Ocean Springs, Moss Point, Pascagoula and at the work center.

Jackson County estimates if MDCO closes the work center it would cost more than $1.5 million dollars to replace inmate labor with county employees.

"We don't understand the reason behind it. We have everything in place to operate it safely and efficiently which we have been done for years," Harris said.

MDOC has not given a date for when the work center would close. Jackson County supervisors will meet with lawmakers next week when the 2016 legislative session begins asking for help to lobby MDOC to keep the center open.

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