JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi (search) inmates aren't exactly being forced to perform hard labor but the technology repairs they perform each day are helping convicts earn days off their sentences.
Under a new state law, non-violent inmates can get one day less in jail for each day they work. Under the previous prison work program (search), inmates would have to work three days for every one day earned toward a reduced sentence.
"Everyone is entitled to make a mistake, and if you work hard you'll get out quicker," said Latarsha Powe, who is serving a 10-year sentence for a drug conviction.
But critics say what's good for inmates is not necessarily good for society.
"What bothers me most about a scheme to reduce people's period in prison is that it doesn't seem to take into account victims," said former prosecutor Rick Malone.
But with prisons already overcrowded, corrections officials insist they have few alternatives. Early release incentives, they add, promote better behavior behind bars.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Jonathan Serrie.