MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont is again extending its contract for another year to house about 150 inmates at a private Mississippi prison, the state Department of Corrections said Tuesday.
It’s the last extension allowed under the original contract signed with CoreCivic in 2018, the department said.
“Out-of-state housing is a safety valve to prevent overcrowding and mitigate COVID in all of our facilities,” Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker said in a statement. “Ideally we would have space in Vermont for our entire incarcerated population, but that is simply not the reality of the situation at this point in time.”
In 2019, 281 Vermont inmates were housed at CoreCivic’s Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, the department said. The number has dropped as more inmates returned to Vermont facilities and out-of-state transport stopped during the pandemic, officials said. The Mississippi prison now houses 145 Vermont inmates out of the state’s total incarcerated population of 1,319 as of Tuesday, the department said.
A year ago, Vermont extended its contract with CoreCivic with new stipulations after an outbreak of the coronavirus infected a majority of the Vermont inmates.