The inner workings of the Sardis Municipal Court were explained to aldermen last week when Judge Jimmy McClure appeared before the board.
Aldermen requested McClure appear before them to explain his process.
McClure said when a person is found guilty of an offense in municipal court, they are first asked if they have a job.
"If they tell me they have a job, I usually give them two to four weeks to pay on their fines," he said. "I don’t want to give them jail time because they wouldn’t have a job.
"If they see they aren’t going to be able to pay, it is their responsibility to come back to court and ask for more time," the judge said.
McClure said another reason he is hesitant to sentence working people to jail time is the cost to the city.
"As you are all aware, it costs the city $20 a day to house someone at the Panola County Jail," he said. "Once they come out, I add the jail costs to their fines.
"If they can’t pay the fines then, I will sentence them to the city’s work program," McClure added.
The judge said he does have some "regular customers" for which he has no choice but to sentence to jail.
"There are people that won’t pay their fines and then don’t show up for the work program," he said. "And they seem to be regulars.
"At times I have no choice but to put them in jail," he said. "There have been cases where I have banned them from the city."
Ward 3 Alderman Mike Wilson said one of his concerns is the extension on payments.
"When you give a person that amount of time to pay, it sometimes creates more warrants that we have to send in," he said.
McClure said he only gives the extra time so a person can pay.
"There are people that will have a choice between paying their court fine or buying medicine or food for their families, so I try to show a little compassion," he said.
"I am well aware of a person’s rights and I jump through loopholes to keep the city clear," McClure added.