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Private prison in Delta closing
By clarionledger.com - Jimmie E. Gates
Published: 11/11/2011

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. MDOC and Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America, which operates the prison, have vowed to help the employees find jobs.

"I am heartsick at the number of workers who will be displaced with the closure of Delta Correctional Facility," said Greenwood-Leflore Industrial Board Executive Director Angela Curry. "Our community leaders worked diligently with state officials and CCA to keep this facility open. This is unfortunate, however, we must continue to work to make this community attractive to new business and industry."

The closing will save the state $10.2 million a year.

Epps said CCA initially approached the state about getting out of the contract because it couldn't make additional money.

State law requires per inmate cost to be 10 percent less at a private-run prison than at a state-run prison, Epps said.

He said the state's cost per day for taking care of inmates was $34.61 for medium custody beds. By state law, Epps said CCA had to accept a rate of 10 percent less, or about $31.15 per inmate per day.

"Since they came and wanted out of the contract, I said we really don't need the prison," Epps said Thursday. "I have to look at what is best for Mississippi."

CCA has operated the prison since April 2004. It also operates three other prisons in the state.

Epps said discussions about the future of the prison have been ongoing for years.

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