CORINTH, Miss. (WTVA) -- More than 1,100 inmates have been added to prisons and correctional facilities across the state in the last year, which means many of those county facilities that house state inmates are full as well.
One such facility at capacity: the Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility.
That's why Warden Doug Mullins would like to have a bit more money in the budget for staffing.
"We could use a few more [people]. At this time, we're looking and trying to place and re-do things to where people can be at their full potential," Mullins said. "Everybody may have to wear two or three different hats."
Prison cells in the Magnolia State house somewhere in the neighborhood of 22,000 inmates. The problem for Mississippi legislators is this: how do you address an incarceration rate that is second in the nation, coupled with an increasing prison population?
"We're gonna have to look at more house arrests, more creative ways to handle prisoners. On little first offense crimes like marijuana, it is absolutely insane to send these young boys and girls to Parchman for three years for that crime," State Rep. Steve Holland (D-Plantersville) said. "Murderers, rapists, yeah. They belong in the pen. It's what it's made for. But these other crimes, we've got to rethink those."
Holland said a lot of that will come down to the legislative and judicial branches of state government collaborating, but there's no guarantee it will happen.
A lot of the confusion, Holland says, is because most people don't really know what's going on with the state's prison system.
"You hear nothing about the prison. It is the quietest subject in every legislative session, but now represents the fourth largest budget in state government, and growing exponentially by the year. So somebody, someday is going to have to make prisons a big subject. I don't know who's gonna do it."
Holland says the current budget for the Mississippi Department of Corrections stands at around $300 million.
MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps said he needs an additional $30 million just to cover the department's deficits for the current fiscal year.