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Mississippi Prisoners Make Collect Call for Jesus

On April 15, 2009, the Mississippi Legislature passed legislation authorizing up to 25 percent, or $25,000 annually, of the money collected from prisoner telephone calls to fund a Jail and Prison Ministry.

Since the late 1990s, the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry has provided church services at the Lauderdale County Jail, funded entirely by donations. In 2007, however, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors requested the introduction of legislation to divert prison phone revenues, through December 31, 2011, to the chaplaincy to pay for a full-time Chaplain, and non-denominational worship services.

Sheriff Billy Sollie believes the jail ministry is important because it gives “hope of changing the heart and mind of those individuals who have chosen to prey on society, and provides them with hope for the future.” Sollie touted Ronny Shack, one of the first prisoners to join the jail ministry, as a chaplaincy success story. Sollie is convinced that Shack is now reformed, owning a local business, the Rib Shack, which provides catering for jail ministry fundraisers. “He acknowledges the message he received has led him to where he’s at today,” said Sollie.

Source: Senate Bill No. 3184 (2009),

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