Hundreds rally at the State Capital for prison reform - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Copy-Hundreds rally at the State Capital for prison reform

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

State lawmakers, on their way inside the State Capitol on Tuesday, were met by prisoners' families and taxpayers. 

A group called the Southern Belles led the effort and they are demanding the state to make prison reform a top priority this legislative session.

 Hundreds of people chanted and others held signs at the State Capitol demanding the lawmakers change, what they call a flawed prison system.

“We want to be treated like humans. Some people have sat in jail a whole year or two years ain't even did nothing wondering when they will get trial dates and they are looked pass for the dollar that is sitting on their heads from being in that jailhouse,”  said former state prisoner Marquises Richard.

Another issues brought to light during the rally is the fear that the MDOC will end or take away a lot of the privileges that come along with Commissary programs.

The program allows family members and friends to provide inmates with funding for hygiene products, supplement foods and clothing. Things some former prisoners claim the state doesn't provide on a daily basis.

“It is going to cause havoc. It is going to cause a chain reaction. I am speaking from experience they don't have enough police K9 units to control what can happen,” said former prisoner Stephen Harris.

“Mississippi taxpayers you do not pay for this, we are paying for the education, vocational and all libraries that are going to the inmate’s fund,” prison reform support CJ Page.

C J Page is part of the Southern Belles, a group made up of wives and loved ones who have people in the prisons across that state. She said her group has been working with lawmakers on several proposals that include medical service improvements and rehabilitation programs.

“We have Bill 504 that helps violent offenders, we also have a halfway house proposal and we also have a parole proposal. We are really excited about this because this will take an initiative to help with public safety,” said Page.

The Southern Belles are asking that taxpayers in Mississippi contact their state lawmakers to push these issues because they believe there is power in numbers.

Copyright 2016 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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