This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Jackson, Miss. • Officials with the Mississippi Department of Corrections say two companies are bidding to manage the state's four privately operated prisons.
One is the current operator, Centerville-based Management and Training Corp. (MTC). The second is New Jersey-based Community Education Centers.
MTC got $59.3 million last year to run East Mississippi Correctional Facility, Marshall County Correctional Facility, Walnut Grove Correctional Facility and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.
Corrections spokeswoman Grace Fisher said a committee will evaluate proposals and make a recommendation to Commissioner Chris Epps. She said Epps plans to award the contract by Tuesday. It would go into effect Dec. 1.
Epps sought new bids in August, saying he wanted more security staff. Mississippi is being sued over conditions at the Walnut Grove and East Mississippi facilities. Riots occurred at Walnut Grove in December and July.
Nine prisoners were injured in the July riot, which broke out after a man tried to throw footballs filled with cellphones, marijuana and other contraband into the prison.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections recently removed some of the most dangerous prisoners from Walnut Grove.
Founded in 1981, privately held MTC is the world's third largest private operator of adult correctional facilities. It operates federal and state prisons in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, New Mexico, Ohio, Mississippi and Texas and has the capacity to serve 31,102 inmates, according to its website.
In addition, MTC runs numerous Job Corps centers for underprivileged men and women ages 16 through 24, providing instruction to more than 12,000 people annually, the website said.
The company also operates 44 medical facilities at Job Corps centers and correctional facilities and serves 130,500 meals daily.