JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Monday, April 11, 2022, Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) announced he signed House Bill 586, which expands an existing pilot program that allows for non-violent inmates serving the final year of their sentence to take on jobs in their local communities.

“This legislation offers a wonderful opportunity to Mississippians who are seeking a second chance at life. Dignified work has the potential to offer new beginnings and I am proud to sign this legislation helping these incarcerated individuals reenter society and develop new skills and experiences that will allow them to rejoin their communities more smoothly,” said Reeves.

The legislation allows for 25 individuals at a time, who are serving the final year of their sentence, to take work opportunities outside of their respective prison facilities.

The pilot program was first launched in 2021 in Rankin County. Local businesses that agree to employ inmates within their respective counties can provide jobs to currently incarcerated individuals.

The new legislation expands this pilot program to Harrison and Lee County. The legislation bars individuals convicted of crimes of violence from participation in the program. The program is entirely voluntary for the inmates and allows the sheriff the final discretion to determine which individuals participate.