The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) is working to reduce recidivism by regularly adding re-entry programs for youthful offenders.
On Wednesday, 30 youthful offenders between the ages of 14 and 18 participated in a Financial Reality Fair at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County. During the fair, attendees were taught how to successfully manage finances after their release.
The event included numerous businesses from the area who manned stations discussing varying topics, including finances, budgeting, insurance, transportation, food, and other life necessities.
Fran Dear, community relations representative of Regions Bank, was among the participating businesses helping the offenders learn how to navigate the challenges of making ends meet in the free world.
“We’re telling them about goals. We’re telling them about responsible budgeting – the wants and the needs and how to tell the difference between those two,” Dear said.
Additional topics that were presented at the fair included teaching offenders about personal hygiene and how to dress for a job interview. MDOC counselors enlisted the assistance of area experts to teach life skills the offenders didn’t learn before incarceration.
Youthful offenders are incarcerated on an average of seven years and many come into the prison system for theft and drug charges.