The Brentwood private prison operator CoreCivic will house inmates in Mississippi following several violent incidents in that state’s prison system.
Four inmates died during episodes of gang-related violence at several Mississippi prisons during the first week of the new year, leading to a statewide prison lockdown.
On January 6, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared an emergency situation, and authorized the state to bypass some regulations that would slow down the state’s response to the emergency.
Moving inmates to Tutwiler is the best course of action to secure these inmates and make sure we meet their needs. Good job by @MS_MDOC and MBI. See below for the latest MDOC update and a copy of my emergency letter putting this plan in action. pic.twitter.com/yC8GoGWzTz— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) January 9, 2020
Two days later, the state hired CoreCivic to house up to 375 inmates from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman in an attempt to restore order in the state prison system.
CoreCivic will immediately begin housing up to 375 of the state’s inmates at a 2,600 bed facility owned by CoreCivic in nearby Tutwiler, Missippi.
“The Tutwiler facility was chosen because it is the only location that can immediately take on this population,” Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall said, according to a press release. “The facility is already operational and sufficiently staffed to manage close custody inmates. The department acted swiftly because of the violence at MSP and a lack of manpower to restore and maintain order.”
The initial contract will only last 90 days, but could be extended for up to two additional 90 day terms. The state expects the plan will cost about $2 million.
In a press release, CoreCivic CEO Damon Hininger said the company was pleased to be able to help Mississippi.
“Situations like this exemplify how critically important it is for state and federal partners to have access to our real estate assets and associated service offerings,” he said, according to a press release. “Our Tallahatchie facility will provide immediate capacity for the State to move a portion of their close custody inmate population, which will quickly improve the safety and security of their entire correctional system.”
On Friday, the Mississippi Department of Corrections lifted the lockdown on all prisons except for the State Penitentiary at Parchman.