A List Of Private Prisons In The State Of Mississippi

This article brings you a list of private prisons in the state of Mississippi including closed prisons.

Private Prisons in the State of Mississippi
Private Prisons in the State of Mississippi

Mississippi has four stand-alone federal prisons, one federal prison camp, and two privately-run prison facilities housing 4,000+ inmates in these facilities.

The rise of private prisons in Mississippi started in the late 20th century when the state legislature passed a law in 1995 stating all prisoners have to serve 80% of their sentence.

Due to the release of a lower number of prisoners, the prison population in Mississippi doubled over ten years, from 11,250 to 22,800.

Eventually, the state contacted private prison management to incarcerate individuals beyond the state prisons' capacity. Cornell Companies and Corrections Corporation of America prepared private facilities for federal criminals in Mississippi; GEO Group later acquired Cornell Companies, taking over three contracts in Mississippi.

Like most other private facilities, those in Mississippi were also converted to adult-only prisons after the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU National Prison Project filed class action suits against the private prisons.

A List of Private Prisons in the State of Mississippi

All the private prison facilities in Mississippi over the years have comprised of the following 6:

  • East Mississippi Correctional Facility
  • Wilkinson County Correctional Center
  • Marshall County Correctional Facility
  • Delta Correctional Facility
  • Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility
  • Walnut Grove Correctional Facility Walnut Grove

However, the state government has closed some of the private prisons, and only two are operational now in Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Operational Private Prisons in Mississippi

The two operational private prisons in Mississippi are:

East Mississippi Correctional Facility

The East Mississippi Correctional Facility, located in Meridian, Mississippi, is a privately-run facility with 1,500 inmates under contract with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

The GEO Group previously ran the prison, but the contract was handed over to Management and Training Corporation in 2012. The inmates are of minimum, medium, maximum, and close custody levels.

The East Mississippi Correctional Facility is also known as Hell on Earth as it resides inmates with severe mental illness and disabilities. Anyone unfamiliar with the situation at the prison might not be able to spend much time there due to disturbances.

However, the prison management works toward the welfare of these offenders and offers basic adult education courses for the inmates. They can also opt for rehabilitation programs, take art classes, study the bible, and a bunch of other therapeutic courses.

Read A list of Private Prisons in The State of Minnesota

Wilkinson County Correctional Center

The other privately-run correctional facility in Mississippi is the Wilkinson County Correctional Center in Woodville, spread over 97 acres. It was opened in 1998, and now MTC runs it after being transferred from CCA in 2013.

Wilkinson County Correctional Center is home to some of the most dangerous offenders in Mississippi and is known for overcrowding and violence. It can hold 900 inmates requiring minimum, medium, and closed security.

At the same time, the facility offers different programs for the inmates, including basic education and substance abuse treatment, besides religious services.

Closed Private Prisons in Mississippi

While private prisons provided a space to cater to the needs of the increasing number of offenders, violence, sexual abuse, drugs, and a lack of medical care and programs were reported frequently.

Furthermore, the inability of these prisons to hire and maintain staff in these prisons acted as the last nail in the coffin.

Besides the two operational private prisons in Mississippi, three were closed by 2017, and the state government recently closed the fourth, Marshall County Correctional Facility. These include:

  • Delta Correctional Facility
  • Walnut Grove Correctional Facility Walnut Grove
  • Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility

The Mississippi Department of Corrections closed the Delta Correctional Facility in January 2012, followed by the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility in September 2016. All the prisoners from the for-profit private prison Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility were also moved by early 2017.

Furthermore, the state closed the Marshall County Correctional Facility in 2021, leaving only two functional privately-run prisons on the list of private prisons in the state of Mississippi.

Read A List of Private Prisons in The State of Michigan

Recently Closed Marshall County Correctional Facility

The Mississippi Department of Corrections took over the Marshall County Correctional Facility in 2021 after running privately for 25 years.

The main reason behind closing the Marshall County Correctional Facility is the contractor, Management, and Training Corporation's inability to hire and retain staff to operate the 1000-bed facility.

Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said, “It is difficult to hire that close to Memphis. They couldn’t raise pay at one facility and not at others.”

He added, "The Department of Corrections tried to rehire as many of the MTC workers as possible. Because of state hiring requirements, former employees had to reapply and be interviewed and vetted again.

We want to focus more on reentry training, including teaching the prisoners coding, which is highly desirable in the computer industry right now.”

Cain also mentioned that the Department of Corrections in Mississippi raised the pay to $15 an hour. Still, Management and Training Corporation could not offer it as they have consistent pay nationwide.

Before being closed, the Marshall County prison had 89 employees. MTC and MDOC tried increasing reentry training and reducing the number of prisoners in society as the facility staff could not manage 900 inmates.

The commissioner also mentioned that MTC had agreed with the previous Department of Corrections administration to house maximum-security prisoners, but it was not designed for them and thus were moved to another facility.

Safety Situation in the Marshall County Correctional Facility

Besides the staffing problems in Marshall County Correctional Facility, there were also question marks on the security situation in the facility. Gang members beat other prisoners, a mentally unstable inmate hanged himself, while other prisoners waiting for medical attention set fires in their cells.

Eldon Vail, the former state prisons chief in Washington State, explained to the court how cost-cutting and a lesser number of prison staff sent the prison into a downward spiral. He mentioned, "There are not a sufficient number of correctional officers, and most of their problems stem from that issue.”

Another inmate describes an attack on him when another prisoner charged at him with a knife and a 4-foot section of pipe. He said he was chained at the wrists, waist, and ankles while being escorted when he attacked.

The guards took away the attacker and told him not to do that again without offering medical help besides distilled water. He was offered medical help three days later when the blood covered the floor of his cell. The doctor at the hospital treated him for four stab wounds and a broken leg.

State Prisons in Mississippi

  • Central Mississippi Correctional Facility
  • South Mississippi Correctional Institution
  • Mississippi State Penitentiary (previously Parchman Prison Farm)

Country Prisons

  • Bolivar County Correctional Facility
  • Carroll-Montgomery County Correctional Facility
  • George-Greene County Correctional Facility
  • Holmes-Humphreys County Correctional Facility
  • Issaquena County Correctional Facility
  • Jefferson-Franklin County Correctional Facility
  • Kemper-Neshoba County Correctional Facility
  • Leake County Correctional Facility
  • Marion-Walthall County Correctional Facility
  • Stone County Correctional Facility
  • Winston-Choctaw County Correctional Facility

PS: List of Private Prisons in The State of Mississippi:

Mississippi has four stand-alone federal prisons, one federal prison camp, and two privately-run prison facilities housing 4,000+ inmates in these facilities.

Initially, the list of private prisons in the state of Mississippi comprised 6 prisons, including the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, Wilkinson County Correctional Center, Marshall County Correctional Facility, Delta Correctional Facility, Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, and Walnut Grove Correctional Facility Walnut Grove. But now, there are only two private prisons in Mississippi.

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