No more inmate trusties, says Mississippi governor

Story highlights

  • Mississippi's new governor ends the use of inmates at his mansion
  • Those inmate trusties were usually pardoned
  • There was controversy over the outgoing governor's pardons
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has ended the practice of inmate trusties working for the governor, a tradition that was linked to a number of controversial pardons by his predecessor, Haley Barbour.
The pardons caused outrage among the families of victims because the trusties pardoned included four convicted murderers who were serving life sentences. All four were working as inmate trusties at the governor's mansion. Trusties are inmates who can receive additional rights through good behavior.
"As governor, Bryant first discontinued the practice of inmates spending the night on the mansion grounds and then the tradition of pardoning those individuals," said spokesman Mick Bullock.
Bryant was sworn in as governor less than two weeks ago.
By Thursday, the use of inmate trusties for any work at all at the mansion was phased out, Bullock said.
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Anthony McCray, who was convicted in a 2001 murder, was one of the trusties who was pardoned by Barbour.
It was understood that trusties had a much higher chance of getting pardons than those in the general prison population, though he insisted he never talked to Barbour about clemency, McCray has said.
Barbour has defended the trusties program, saying that most inmates who have worked at the mansion committed crimes of passion -- including murder -- and corrections experts say they are least likely to reoffend.