During their last meeting, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted a resolution requesting the cooperation of state officials to allow the city to use inmate workers as it did for many years in the past.
Mayor Tommy Irwin said the resolution makes the case that the arrangement “is a win-win — the state taxpayer doesn’t have to pay a dime. The county will not have to pay a dime. The city will reimburse the county.”
The city and county were headed toward such an arrangement last year until the Mississippi Department of Corrections informed the city that it is not allowed by law.
The city wants 10 to 12 inmate laborers who could work garbage routes and perform other duties as they have in the past.
“We’re used to seeing inmates on the back of garbage trucks,” said Irwin. “We’re used to seeing them out working in the community, which we feel is a good thing.”
While the city has hired several full-time workers to offset the loss of inmate laborers, it would be a big hit to the budget to hire as many as are needed, he said.
“Such a program is beneficial to all in that it allows the City of Corinth to perform a required public function at an efficient cost to its residents and allows taxes not to be increased for this purpose,” states the resolution. “Such a program also is beneficial to the State of Mississippi in that it relieves the State of Mississippi of the burden of paying for the housing of qualified State inmates who are utilized to perform this public function and related permitted public functions.”
State inmates in community work centers provided 2,451,393 hours of labor, worth an estimated $17,772,600, for cities, counties, state agencies and charitable organizations during fiscal year 2012, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The joint work program has since ended.