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Alcorn County man wants his freedom

(Susan Parker)
(Susan Parker)
Reported by: Susan Parker
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Updated: 10/22/2013 9:41 pm
ALCORN COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) -- Cletus Patterson has lived a life on the wrong side of the law.

"I've always took the wrong path and went down the wrong road and ended up in trouble," Patterson said.

That trouble includes burglary which is a felony and a long list of misdemeanors. There are still charges pending against him in another state.

He'll have to worry about that another day.  He's got fines to pay -- more than $7,000 worth.

Patterson said he wants to change his life but he can't.

"I'm tired of doing it," Patterson said. "I'm tired of sitting in jail. I know you're tired of seeing me and I just want to live my life."

His story is as familiar as his face for Alcorn County Justice Court Judge Jimmy McGee.

He says Patterson and others in his position are caught in a cycle. If they don't pay, they go to jail. That history of crime makes it hard to find a job, so it's back to jail.

"It's just a continuous cycle when one gets to owing that much. Unless there was some type of work program, that person will never hardly ever see the light of day," Alcorn County Justice Court Judge Jimmy McGee said.

Alcorn County does not have a work program and efforts by the sheriff to start one have not panned out. The funding is not available.

"There are multitudes of inmates over there who have the same problem. It's the same way. What's the answer? I don't know. I wish I did," Alcorn County Sheriff Charles Rinehart said.

The sheriff says he has also tried to find local companies that would allow inmates to work for them, but jobs are scarce as a whole.

Rinehart says it's a no-win situation because it costs the county more to house them in some cases than what's even owed.
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