HOLLY SPRINGS, Mississippi (AP) – The Mississippi Department of Corrections is taking over the operation of the Marshall County Correctional Facility, a privately run prison since it opened 25 years ago.
Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said Management & Training Corp., the private company most recently hired to operate the 1,000-bed medium security prison, was struggling to hire and retain employees, the Northeast reported. Mississippi Daily Journal. The prison is located approximately 90 kilometers southeast of Memphis, Tennessee.
“It’s hard to hire this close to Memphis,” Cain said.
The commissioner said the Department of Corrections had increased the Marshall County Jail salary to $ 15 an hour, which MTC was unable to do. He said the company operates numerous prisons across the country and all of them have a constant rate of pay.
“They couldn’t raise wages in one establishment and not in others,” Cain said.
The Department of Corrections has tried to rehire as many MTC employees as possible, he said. Due to state hiring requirements, former employees had to reapply and be re-interviewed and vetted.
As of Monday, the Marshall County Jail had 89 staff but will need more as the facility adjusts to its new mission, he said. Authorities plan to reduce the number of prisoners and increase reintegration training.
He said the MTC had agreed with the previous administration of the Department of Corrections to house the maximum security prisoners.
“It wasn’t designed for maximum security, so we removed them,” Cain said.
Cain said the prison will focus more on helping inmates re-enter society.
“We want to focus more on reintegration training, including teaching prisoner coding, which is highly desirable in the computer industry right now,” Cain said.
The MTC had been hired to house 900 detainees, but was understaffed to accommodate as many. The Department of Corrections took over the facility on September 13. After moving maximum security prisoners and other prisoners, the number fell to 775 on Monday. Cain said he would like to reduce the prison population to around 500.
The Marshall County Jail spans 42 acres (17 hectares) on the north side of Holly Springs, with a fence of approximately 17 acres (6.9 hectares). It opened in 1996 and was designed to house only male prisoners.
Mississippi now has two private prisons: the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville. Both are operated by MTC.