State Ships Inmates It Can’t Guard to Private Prison

PARCHMAN, MS (Ben Caxton) — 375 inmates from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman are being sent 13 miles away to a private lockup. Prison officials say they don’t have enough guards to safely keep the inmates in custody in the wake of recent violence. The state and CoreCivic announced the 90-day, $2 million contract on Thursday to move inmates to the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler. The agreement could be extended for 180 more days and allows the state to send more prisoners. Under state law, Mississippi can house up to 1000 prisoners in Tallahatchie County but must pay at least 10% less than the cost of housing an inmate in a state-run prison. An April report set the state’s cost at $53.72 a day, meaning the target cost for private prisons is $43.34 per inmate. The cost for the Tallahatchie inmates is over $60 a day. Mississippi Today reports the department has overspent its current budget by $9 million and is seeking $22 million to reroof and rebuild Parchman’s Unit 29. Corrections officials are also seeking an additional $67 million in the budget year beginning July 1 to hire 800 more guards and raise salaries at three state-run prisons including Parchman.


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