ABERDEEN – A video of an inmate at the Monroe County Work Center assembling “Re-elect Cantrell Sheriff” campaign signs has caused a stir after being posted to Facebook this week.
Sheriff Cecil Cantrell denies any involvement in directing the inmate to assemble signs and said he didn’t realize anything about the incident until Tuesday night.
“This is nothing but dirty, rotten politics. This is the dirtiest campaign I’ve ever been involved in,” Cantrell said. “I had no clue it happened, if you want to put the truth out there.”
He said the video was taken during the beginning of April. Cantrell wouldn’t elaborate on who filmed the video but said the incident is being investigated.
Mississippi Codes 47-5-401 through 47-5-421 address work center inmates, who are restricted to work orders for the county, cities and certain nonprofit organizations. Schools may also use inmate labor.
Work center inmates are non-violent offenders through the Mississippi Department of Corrections housed at the county’s facility.
In researching the legality of an inmate assembling campaign signs, the Mississippi Ethics Commission and Secretary of State offices had no comments regarding such an instance. The State Auditor's office, while admitting it was illegal, declined to comment on what the next step would be or who is responsible for taking action.
General manager Emily Paul contributed to this story.
Editors note: video was sent to us by a reader who asked to remain anonymous.