Relay for Life held at EMCF
MEEHAN — Lauderdale County Relay for Life may have officially been held more than a month ago, but that didn’t stop inmates at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility from doing their part in the fight against cancer.
A group of inmates, along with facility staff, spent Friday conducting a benefit of their own, raising several hundred dollars for The American Cancer Society.
The event was part of a rehabilitation program called Moral Reconation Therapy, according to Dr. Marshall Powe, a psychologist at EMCF. The program, put into place about two years ago, aims to keep offenders from returning to prison by reconnecting them with the community and their families, Powe said.
“They need that support when they leave,” he said.
Counselors work with inmates to confront why they were sent to prison, and work on ways to avoid problems once they are released.
The program has been a success, Powe said.
“It really changes people; those who have been through this program, they don’t come back,” he said. “We hope they never come back.”
Lakeasha Boyd, a mental health counselor at EMCF, said the Relay for Life benefit is a good example of the program’s effectiveness.
“Part of the program is community service,” she said. “Where it teaches them to give back to the community without expecting anything in return. It teaches them to think about people other than themselves. It was their idea to do Relay for Life. They were really excited to do it.”
Channing Peebles, with the American Cancer Society, was on hand to participate in the event. She was presented with a check from the fundraiser, at which cakes and other goodies were sold.
“I was really excited when they called,” she said. “Because in Mississippi, maybe one other county has a correctional facility that does Relay for Life. And any little bit of money helps - no matter how much you give, all of it is going to the American Cancer Society, so that one day cancer is something we only read about in history books.”