Life Beyond Bars

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Seven hundred fifty men are locked up at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility at Lost Gap, just outside Meridian. Many of them may one day be released.

The 2nd Annual Informational Fair focused on about 200 inmates who fit that category. Guest speakers ranged from a minister to parole board representatives to job experts and others.

Don Nester, a probation officer, gave the men a warning.

"When you leave this facility, you're going to be on some kind of paper. It may be for 30 days. It may be for six months. It may be for five, six years, I don't know. You know. You know what you got when you left court. But what you want to do is, don't put yourself in that situation that's going to jeporadize your freedom and get you back in the facility,"
Nester said.

Warden Lawrence Greer said the seminar serves a valuable purpose.

"We try to get the inmates ready for release," Greer said. "We try to bring in the services that will most assist them once they are released from this facility."

Each month, about ten to twelve prisoners are paroled or have served their sentences and are released.

"It's well accepted by the community on the inside. These inmates really look forward to trying to better themselves when they are released from here," said the warden. "These are the same individuals who are going to be someone's neighbor and possibly work for some of the employers out there so we want to give them the best opportunity to succeed."

There was a final warning Nester. He said, "If you mess up, you're at the mercy of the court."