View Full Version : Private prison awaits tranfers from state pen

10-30-2004, 10:33 PM

Mississippi will save $20 per inmate per day to send them to Tutwiler

By John Fuquay (

More than 120 Mississippi prisoners soon will be transferred from the state Penitentiary at Parchman to the private prison in Tutwiler for an estimated savings of $614,000, officials said Tuesday.

The move marks the first transfer of Mississippi inmates to the 1,104-bed Tallahatchie Correctional Facility, which is owned and operated by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America.

The transfer includes 128 prisoners, but more could be moved as space becomes available, according to CCA.

"We may send another 80 up there, but I don't have a date," Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said.

The state spends $69.50 a day to house a maximum security inmate while the CCA contract costs $49.50 per day. The contract, to run through June 30, includes three one-year renewal options.

"We have to get at least 10 percent in savings," said MDOC spokeswoman Suzanne Singletary. "That's required by the law," she added, referring to the state's ability to contract with a private facility.

MDOC currently has prisoners in two units owned by the state but managed by CCA one in Woodville and another in Greenwood. Those units house prisoners only from Mississippi.

CCA also houses inmates from Hawaii and Colorado.

About 35 inmates from Colorado caused an uprising at the Tutwiler prison in July, burning mattresses and clothing. No serious injuries were reported, and order was restored in about an hour.

MDOC's current budget is $217 million, but Epps is seeking $303 million for the 2006 fiscal year beginning July 1. Epps recently told budget writers that inmate costs are rising and more prisoners are entering the corrections system than leaving.

But Gov. Barbour's office has said the agency has saved more than $11 million through eliminating prison jobs, reorganizing positions, removing vehicles and stopping use of some cell phones and pagers.

Epps has laid off more than 120 Parchman guards during the past four months, with some finding new jobs at Tutwiler.