JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The prison crisis in the state forced the governor today to take executive action in the form of an emergency situation.
Department of Corrections must work out an agreement in regards to their transfer of a number of inmates from Parchman to a private prison.
Lawmakers expressed concern Thursday after MDOC sent a deficit request letter to the budget office asking for enough money to pay $65 a day per-inmate heading to the Tallahatchie private prison in Tutwiler, MS. This rate is more than the state law allows with it not being 10% less than the normal rate state prisons usually receive to house their own inmates.
To speed up the process around legal obstacles governor Phil Bryant took to twitter Thursday evening announcing an emergency declaration allowing inmates at Parchman to be transferred to a private prison, The Tallahatchie County Correctional facility owned by CoreCivic.
This effort is to cool down the tensions with rival gangs sparking fights and riots inside Parchman where three inmates were killed in one week.
“Talking to some inmates, the Vice Loyds are a major influence in the prisons,” Sunflower County Sheriff James Haywood said back on Jan. 3rd. “And that the Gangster Disciples are now trying to take a foothold in the prisons.”
In documents obtained by Mississippi Today the cost per-inmate will be $65 a day. Considering the 90 days they will be in the private prison, the state will have to pay CoreCivic around $2.1 Million of taxpayer money. All of which is over what the annual budget usually allows.
“We have been involved in those conversations and kept up to speed on what they are doing,” governor elect Tate Reeves said. “We’ll continue to monitor the situation.”
“I’m not sure that’s going to solve the problem,” Representative Jeffery Harness of District 85 stated. “I’m very concerned about the conditions in which the inmates are living in and I’m not sure sending them to private prisons is going to be the answer.”
The emergency declaration also allows MDOC to reach out to other agencies for funding and assistance specifically the state emergency management agency and highway patrol.
“Every time we have to spend more money on something like this and an unanticipated expense than that takes away something else,” Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann explained. “The pie is only so large. You’ll see us scrutinizing all the state agencies.”
The next big question is how the house and senate will find a permanent solution to properly staff facilities and fix conditions of state prison units falling apart.
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann threw out the idea transforming Walnut Grove into a fully operated prison. An idea brought up by MDOC, but cant be done at the moment due to the lack of staffing and money.