CCA commits to build new prison

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, April 26, 2007

Corrections Corporation of America will locate a prison in Adams County, representatives said Wednesday.

CCA Vice President Lucibeth Mayberry said her company was excited about the go-ahead and was looking forward to being good new corporate neighbors.

“We have a site in a community we’re comfortable with,” Mayberry said. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

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The private corrections company was previously eyeing Pike and Walthall counties, too, but since no petition was submitted Tuesday, the company will concentrate on Adams County.

Walthall County will still serve as a back-up in case something falls through, Mayberry said.

The company is looking at building a $90 million facility in the Cranfield area and eventually employing roughly 300 people full-time.

The company, which was previously considering Pike County as an option, will bring in engineers next week to further study the U.S. 84 site, she said.

Two companies, CCA and The GEO Group, Inc., are looking to locate a private prison in Adams County. Both companies have said they would house federal inmates.

The county board of supervisors passed a resolution at Wednesday’s meeting stating no petition was filed, giving approval to the location of the facilities

In all likelihood, only one prison will actually locate in Adams County, board attorney Bob Latham said during Wednesday’s meeting.

“I understand that more than one contact is out there, and there’s the outside possibility we could have two (prisons), but it’s not a probability,” Latham said.

Wednesday’s meeting ended the county’s role in the issue.

“Now, it’s left up to the two companies,” Supervisors President Grennell said. “No more is required from this board.”

The two companies have very different approaches. CCA plans to build a facility so it looks better when the federal government awards contracts. GEO plans to wait until it receives a contract to start building.

No GEO representatives attended Wednesday’s meeting.

“We’re pleased no petition was filed,” GEO spokesman Pablo Paez said Wednesday. “We continue to evaluate our site in Adams County, and we continue to evaluate our strategy with this project.”

The deadline for residents to submit a petition was Tuesday. Residents would have had to present a petition with at least 1,500 signatures in order to bring the issue to a vote.

No signatures were presented, and the board of supervisors made it official Wednesday.

Grennell said he was pleased that the companies could go forward with their plans.

“It means jobs for Adams County and a $90 million investment in Adams County,” Grennell said. “In the long run, it has the potential to reduce taxes for residents in Adams County. It will take up some of the slack left when IP and Johns Manville left. I feel good about it.”

Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority Director Jeff Rowell said he thought it was a big step forward.

“It’s a great project,” Rowell said. “We’re really excited about it. We’ve been working with the group since the beginning to make it happen.”

CCA representatives and officials from various utility services met privately in the boardroom after the supervisors meeting.

“It’s to hash out a game plan,” said Rowell, who attended the meeting.