Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office launches Trustee Program for inmates

(KBSI) – The Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office is launching a new Trustee Program which will allow inmates to work outside the jail.

Trustees are jail inmates entrusted with performing specific jobs inside the jail and on the grounds.

Under the supervision of a corrections officer or deputy sheriff, trustees will be able to work in county government buildings and sometimes other public buildings, according to the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office.

Mississippi County Sheriff Britton Ferrell says the program allows inmates to get fresh air and exercise while providing workforce training and building re-entry skills.

It also enhances inmate morale through a sense of accomplishment and incentivizes inmates to work toward a privilege, not a right.

“I understand some people might be skeptical seeing inmates in florescent vests and shirts around the courthouse,” said Sheriff Ferrell. “However, our trustees have been accepted and entrusted to help with landscaping, moving filing cabinets, interacting with courthouse staff weekly, and making our kitchen more efficient in the jail. Sometimes you have to trust people; not everybody that comes to jail is necessarily a bad person, just someone that made bad choices. Trust and empathy work both ways, being earned and given.”

Mississippi County’s trustee program differs because it allows inmates to work outside the perimeter.

The county also benefits since it saves money that would otherwise be spent on hiring people or contracting for these services, according to the sheriff’s office.

The program also allows inmates the opportunity to become productive citizens to reduce the likelihood of returning to jail.

Trustees are carefully selected and do everything from in-house work such as cooking, groundskeeping, and cleaning to providing labor for projects outside the jail.

Sheriff’ Ferrell says the program provides a sense of accomplishment, builds self-confidence, and gives inmates hope for their future.

Being off drugs and in a controlled environment but with the added trust of working as a trustee allows inmates to rebuild their lives positively and see law enforcement as people who would instead help them than arrest them.

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