HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. -- Most folks don't realize how much an inmate's conduct "behind bars" influences their lives after they re-enter the "free world."
At the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs, a multi-level program called "Moral Reconation Therapy" is already working to decrease rule violations and bad behavior.
Management and Training Corporation, which operates the Marshall County facility, has also implemented the "MRT" program at three other prisons it runs in Mississippi.
The program has been in place since 2014 and so far the results are promising.
Inmates taking the first steps toward changing their lives.
"Moral Reconation Therapy" or "MRT" is a program designed to "get inside" an inmate's heart and mind and address behavioral and moral decisions while they're still behind bars.
"So when they get out of prison, when they cope with issues that come up, they'll be able to deal with those in the right way. And make sound decisions so they don't come back to prison," said Timothy Outlaw, Warden of the Marshall County Correctional Facility.
Warden Timothy Outlaw said "MRT" has dramatically decreased the number of rules violations among inmates at the Marshall County Correctional Facility who have joined the program.
Inmates meet two times a week for up to six months in group and individual counseling that covers everything from beliefs and relationships to positive behavior and moral reasoning.
Warden Outlaw calls the sixteen stage "MRT" program intense, but for a reason. The goal is to keep inmates from returning to a life of crime.
"Our goal always is, when offenders are incarcerated, to give them the tools necessary so they can become more productive citizens," said Timothy Outlaw, Warden of the Marshall County Correctional Facility.
Pastor Jim Burke works with inmates in an inter-denominational program called "Experiencing God."
He said most inmates are eager to make a "clean start." but still lack the faith to move forward.
"With a number of inmates, they have come to a point in their life, because of circumstances where they realize, "what I've done doesn't work, so the only thing I really do have is God. And I can either accept that or reject that, but God is all there is,' said Pastor Jim Burke
Inmates also have the opportunity to take part in a GED program as well as several vocational training and self-help programs . There's even a course on becoming a commercial artist.