CCA contract to bring 400 jobs

Published 4:48 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NATCHEZ — A signature on the dotted line hundreds of miles away Wednesday makes today a new day for Adams County.

The deal between Corrections Corporation of America and the Federal Bureau of Prisons that was closed in Washington, D.C., will bring more than $1.2 million in property taxes, $1.8 million in utilities and 400 jobs to the Natchez area.

The contract allows the $128 million Adams County Correctional Facility to house more than 2,500 federal inmates.

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Warden Vance Laughlin said that contract means positive change for Natchez and Adams County.

“It’s great news for us,” Laughlin said. “This is what we have been waiting for. This is what we needed.”

Since the prison’s completion in December, the facility has been empty.

Laughlin said inmates will begin arriving at the new prison in late July and will continue to fill the prison until December, at which point the facility should reach capacity.

The facility will house illegal immigrants that committed crimes inside the United Sates.

Gov. Haley Barbour said the contract will bring hundreds of much-needed jobs to Mississippi.

“This is a momentous development for Adams County, its surrounding communities and the entire State of Mississippi,” Barbour said.

Adams County Supervisor Darryl Grennell said Wednesday’s announcement is the best news the county has had all year.

“It’s a great day for Adams County,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it.”

Grennell said the property taxes are badly needed in the county’s budget.

“It’s going to have a major impact on our budget for the fiscal year,” he said.

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton said the new jobs will also help boost the entire local economy.

Middleton said he thinks the new jobs will have a trickle-down effect in Natchez and Adams County.

“(Employees) will be buying gas, shopping in our stores and eating in our restaurants,” Middleton said. “It’s going to have a tremendous impact.”

But before that impact can be felt, Laughlin has lots of positions to fill.

In the coming days he’ll start filling openings for upper-management positions.

Once that’s done Laughlin will focus on filing the remaining openings.

While plans are still tentative, Laughlin is planning a job fair to showcase openings at the facility later this month.

No dates have been set yet.