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Company preparing to operate Wilkinson County Correctional Facility

NATCHEZ — Officials with the company that will operate the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility say their goals are to increase staffing and ensure the prison is safe and secure.

Management and Training Corporation will take over the Mississippi Department of Corrections facility in Woodville July 1. The company will replace Corrections Corporation of America as the private operators of the state-owned facility, and won the management contract earlier this year through a bidding process.

MTC’s chosen warden for WCCF, Frank Shaw, said the transition into taking over the prison is going smoothly and that MTC started its 120-hour training academy for 74 employees to work at the prison Monday.

In addition to the new hires, Shaw said the company hopes to retain most of the current CCA employees.

“We want to keep our staffing numbers where they are supposed to be,” he said. “We don’t want people working overtime or having to have mandatory overtime shifts.”

Shaw, who will live in Natchez, has been working for the company in Mississippi as the warden at East Mississippi Correctional Facility.

MTC’s Director of Corporate Communications Issa Arnita said that a May lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against EMCF for poor conditions at the prison does not name MTC as a defendant.

Most of the incidents cited were for alleged incidents that happened before MTC took over the facility in July 2012, Arnita said.

Since MTC assumed control of the facility, offender-on-offender assaults have decreased by 74 percent, and use-of-force incidents have decreased by 60 percent, and the company has developed 45 educational and vocational programs for prisoners there, and Arnita said the success at EMCF was part of the reason Shaw was chosen to lead the WCCF prison team.

While WCCF is a different prison situation than EMCF, Arnita said the company has a commitment to providing programs for prisoners at WCCF as well.

“It is very important to MTC to provide GED, high school diploma, rehabilitation programming and life skills,” he said. “We feel if we can provide education for inmates we reduce recidivism.”

Shaw said the company still has open positions in programming, support staff and security. Those who wish to apply with the company can do so through its website at www.mtctrains.com/about-mtc/mississippi-corrections.