Non-violent state inmates from the Graves County Restricted Custody Center could soon be working at Mayfield Consumer Products, according to county officials.

MAYFIELD — Graves County and Mayfield Consumer Products (MCP) are working toward an agreement that could benefit both entities.

Chief Deputy Jailer Donnie Reed is working on the logistics for 10 state inmates to work at MCP’s local candle producing factory in the near future. Reed said he hopes the paperwork and training will be finished within the next 30 days.

“It’s something totally different than we’ve ever done. We’ve never offered an inmate-to-business work program down here, but it’s going to be kind of the future of trying to help inmates before they walk out the door,” Reed said. “It’s another way we’re going to try to fight recidivism.”

Reed would not disclose how much the inmates would make for their work, but said certain percentages would be portioned into different areas, such as a personal savings account to help them after they are eventually released. Some inmates’ ”biggest fears” are starting out with no money, he added.

A portion of their income will also go back into the county, as well.

Reed hopes to increase the number of inmates to 15 if the program does well.

Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry said it was MCP that first approached him about the program several months ago. The company had previously entered into the same arrangement in Calloway County and wanted to do the same in Graves.

“Any kind of program like this is a win,” Perry said, adding it will be “wonderful” when the inmates are able to give back to the community through the program.

“Those folks, they’re going to be making money now. They’re going to be bringing money back to the jail. They are helping the community by taking the burden off of being incarcerated and being able to be an asset to the community by working and paying back in taxes like everyone else that is working a regular job,” he said.

Perry said Graves County Jailer George Workman is working on two similar programs, but the judge was not ready to disclose them.

Workman said the partnership with MCP gives inmates money for a solid re-entry into society. It also provides them funds to spend in the jail’s canteen program, so they can buy everyday needs such as toiletries and food items.

He said while there are a lot of “risk factors” in allowing inmates to work alongside the public, the program itself will be available only to non-violent state inmates.

“They are either Class C or D felons, and the state has classified them as, essentially, a low risk of committing any violent offenses,” Workman said.

Inmates will be required to “provide community service” before “being afforded the privilege of being able to make income at a factory,” Reed said.

He also said the program is an asset to companies struggling with labor shortages. Two other companies have reached out to him about the program, but he was not ready to disclose their identities.

Mayfield Consumer Products Plant Manager Michael Staten was contacted about this story and referred comment to a news release he said the company would send. The Mayfield Messenger, The Sun’s sister newspaper, had not received any release from MCP as of Thursday afternoon.

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