Tag Archives: Mississippi

Report: Private prisons in Mississippi see high number of assaults

Source: Kathryn Royals, Sun Herald, April 20, 2013

…The contractors save money by paying their staff less than state employees are paid, firing employees in a quick and less-expensive manner, and by providing shorter educational and vocational programs to inmates, Epps said. The state spends an average of $49.76 per inmate per day at its own prisons, for example, and pays the operator of Walnut Grove $37.68 per inmate per day….In Mississippi, three companies have operated six prisons over the years: The GEO Group, Corrections Corporation of America, and Management and Training Corp. However, The GEO Group, which ran Walnut Grove and two other prisons, left the state in 2012….

…The Occupational Safety and Health Administration filed a complaint in December 2011 against the East Mississippi Correctional Facility alleging employees were exposed to violence due to staff shortage and inadequate staff training. The GEO Group, which ran the prison, was fined more than $100,000. Earlier in 2011, an inmate there stabbed a guard in the face….The GEO Group did not respond to repeated requests for comments….

…Conditions at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in the Delta are also troublesome, said Patrick Perry, a former guard there. Perry recalled a day in the prison when he tried to report an inmate riot to supervisors but the call never went through…. Repeated requests to Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America for comments were not answered….

Jackson Man Dies in Prison Disturbance

Source: R.L. Nave, Jackson Free Press, April 22, 2013

Demond Flowers, of Jackson, died in a disturbance over the weekend at a Mississippi state prison….Problems at Wilkinson, a 1,000-bed prison in southwest Mississippi, started around 10 a.m. Saturday with “simultaneous incidents of inmates fighting,” according to a release from WCCF. By 12:10 p.m., prison staff had regained control of the prisoners. …Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest private corrections firm, operates the Wilkinson County prison, as well as the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, on behalf of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. CCA also operates the Adams County Correctional Facility in Adams County. In May 2012, CCA’s Natchez prison was the site of a disturbance that left one prison guard dead and about 20 other prison staff members injured. CCA had also been a contender to run the Adams County jail, but a bill authorizing supervisors to contract with the company died in the Legislature….

Miss. Dept. of Human Services could privatize child support collection

Source: Jimmie E. Gates, Clarion Ledger, April 3, 2013

Department of Human Services could soon have authority to privatize child support collection and any other services under a final bill approved Wednesday in the Senate. House Bill 1009 originally only talked about child support payments, but it was acknowledged on the Senate floor today that the final version of the bill DHS the authority to privatize any service….
Child support privatization bills advance in Mississippi Legislature (updated)
Source: Associated Press, February 12, 2013

Two prominent Republicans, including a nephew of former Gov. Haley Barbour, are lobbying for bills that would let the Mississippi Department of Human Services hire private companies to collect overdue child support payments….No company’s name was mentioned during the House debate or a Senate debate last week. But, Sen. Nancy Adams Collins, R-Tupelo, said in an interview that when she explained a bill to the Senate, she used information provided by lobbyists Austin Barbour and Arnie Hederman, including statistics about the number of child support cases in the state, about 435,000, and the amount of overdue money, about $1.1 billion….

Mississippi lawmakers mulling to allow private collectors for child support
Source: Associated Press, February 06, 2013

The Mississippi Department of Human Services could hire private companies to handle child support collections under a bill that passed the state Senate on Wednesday. … She said the state could be divided into regions, with private vendors handling collections in some areas and state workers continuing to handle collections in others. That would allow officials to compare statistics to see which method works better….Mississippi used a Virginia-based company, Maximus Inc., to collect overdue child support from 1995 to 2000….Maximus spent more but collected less money for overdue child support payments in Hinds and Warren counties, on average, than DHS did in the rest of the state from 1996-2000, according to a report issued in October 2000, by the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review.

Georgia charter-school law would be different from other states’

Source: Wayne Washington, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 18, 2013

Georgia could become the only state to force local school boards to consider petitions to transform non-failing traditional public schools into charter schools. Seven states have so-called “parent-trigger” laws on their books, though only one of them, California’s, has been used to change a school.

California, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas all allow parents to start a process that could change a traditional public school into a charter school. But in each of those states, where the law is fairly new, the parents could trigger that process only if the public school is, in some way, determined to be a failing school.

Legislation written by Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, would let parents and teachers trigger that charter process in any public school in the state. Lindsey’s legislation, House Bill 123, has already passed the state House of Representatives and is scheduled to be discussed in the Senate Education and Youth Committee today….

ALEC-Backed Laws Promote Controversial Charter Schools

Source: Matthew Charles Cardinale, IPS-Inter Press Service, February 27, 2013

The right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and private education management firms are pushing for new “parent trigger” laws in states across the U.S. by lobbying many Republican and some Democratic legislators to make it easier to convert more traditional public schools to charter schools….Charter schools are the latest scheme to privatise public education in the U.S., and are seen as more politically feasible than “voucher” proposals that would give students vouchers to purchase private schooling. Many charter schools are operated by for-profit educational management firms, which receive sometimes lucrative contracts to operate the schools….

…The parent trigger legislation being pushed by ALEC and other pro-charter lobbyists creates a petition process, whereby a majority of dissatisfied parents at a school could force the school to take one of several actions. Often the preferred action is to convert to a charter school to be managed by a private company.

Another type of legislation being pushed by ALEC is to create a statewide charter school commission that could override the decisions of local school boards. Such a commission has been established in Georgia.

As of June 2012, seven U.S. states had enacted parent trigger legislation, beginning with California in 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The other six states are Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas. In California, a group called Parent Revolution was founded with more than one million dollars from foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation to push for the parent trigger law. “An integral part of improving education in Georgia is greater parent buy-in to their children’s education. …

Hinds to save money by privatizing food service at jail sites

Source: Ruth Ingram, Clarion Ledger, November 21, 2012

Hinds County inmates typically get sausage, grits, eggs and juice for breakfast and a meat and two veggies, plus a roll, for lunch and dinner. They’ll still get that fare when Hinds County next month privatizes its jail food service, but at an annual savings to the county of at least $100,000 at the three jail facilities and another $100,000 at the Henley-Young Juvenile Detention Center….

…Valley Foods, and not county-hired cooks, will provide supplies and prepare food at the Adult Detention Center in Raymond, the County Penal Farm in Raymond and the Jackson jail facility, along with the juvenile center in south Jackson that usually houses about 50 teens….

Utah company wins contract to run three state prisons

Source: Associated Press, June 7, 2012

A Utah-based private prison operator will take over management of three Mississippi correctional institutions beginning in July. Management & Training Corporation of Centreville, Utah, has signed 10-year operating contracts for the East Mississippi Correctional Facility near the Lost Gap community beginning July 2; Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in Walnut Grove on July 9; and the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs on Aug. 13….The announcement came today by the company and the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The Corrections Department and the GEO Group of Boca Raton, Fla., in April agreed to end GEO’s management contract at the three prisons….The three are among five privately run prisons in Mississippi. The other two — in Tutwiler and Woodville — are operated by Corrections Corporation of America headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.

Say No to For-Profit Prisons

Source: David Shapiro, ACLU, National Prison Project blog, April 18, 2012

…Privatized incarceration also poses a grave threat to human rights. Late last year, the ACLU of Texas sued CCA after an officer sexually abused multiple immigration detainees. A CCA prison in Idaho was dubbed the “Gladiator School” due to extreme levels of violence. And just last month, a federal judge in Mississippi described conditions in a private prison run by another for-profit company as “a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world.”…
Brutality Alleged at Private Prison
Source: Philip A. Janquart, Courthouse News Service, March 26, 2012

Private prison in Delta closing / Fate of some 220 employees at site yet to be decided

Source: Jimmie E. Gates, clarionledger.com, November 10, 2011

The privately run 1,172-bed Delta Correctional Facility in Greenwood is closing in January. Most of the 900 state inmates housed at the prison will be moved to 14 county/regional correctional facilities, Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said.

The fate of roughly 220 employees remaining at the prison has yet to be decided….Epps said CCA initially approached the state about getting out of the contract because it couldn’t make additional money.

Janitorial services contracted out

Source: Hattiesburg American.com, June 16, 2011

The Petal School Board has approved a plan to contract out the school district’s janitorial services, saving the district more than $160,000 a year. The board voted 5-0 on Tuesday to hire Rite Way Service to provide cleaning services for the district…Rite Way Service will take over cleaning for the district on July 1, at a cost of $47,000 a month, Coaker said.