Will number of prisoners at Adams County Correctional Center be reduced?

Published 1:10 am Sunday, June 11, 2017


NATCHEZ — While Federal officials would not confirm, Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said U.S. Department of Justice plans to reduce the number of inmates incarcerated in private prisons.

Grennell said he learned of this development, which aims to reduce the number of beds at the Adams County Correctional Center from more than 2,500 to 1,800, in a meeting with Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and a representative of CoreCivic, which owns the private prison.

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“Basically what that would do would result in a loss of 75 to 80 jobs here on the local level,” Grennell said. “We cannot afford to lose any jobs down here in Natchez-Adams County or Southwest Mississippi.”

Grennell said he has written letters to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) to urge them to support the local prison.

“When you look at benefits, it would cost us over $2 million,” Grennell said. “It would be wonderful if residents would send an email or contact our congressional delegation and ask them to support our facility down here.”

Adams County Supervisors President Mike Lazarus said Adams County could not afford to lose jobs.

“We need to do everything we can to petition our delegation in Washington to see if at least we can maintain the status quo here in Natchez,” Lazarus said. “We have already been hit pretty hard, and we need jobs down this way. I think everyone realizes that.”

CoreCivic Director of Public Affairs Jonathan Burns said recently CoreCivic was notified by the Federal Bureau of Prisons of its preliminary intent to exercise its third option under the current management contract at the Adams County Correctional Center. The contract would run through July 2019.

“We are proud of our partnership and the solutions our dedicated, professional staff have been able to provide to the Bureau at Adams since 2009, and look forward to working with our government partner to ensure the continuity of those important services, along with the meaningful benefits to Natchez and the greater Adams County community,” Burns said.

Burns deferred to the Bureau of Prisons for additional information. The Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice also recommended the Bureau of Prisons for additional information.

Justin Long with the BOP’s office of public affairs confirmed the bureau’s preliminary notice of intent to exercise the contract option from July 31, 2017, to July 31, 2019. Long would not comment on the specifics of the potential CoreCivic contract as it is not finalized. But Long said the BOP is actively soliciting contractor-operated correctional facilities.

The solicitation, dated May 25, 2017, seeks facilities for a population of low security adult male inmates that are primarily criminal aliens with ordinarily 90 months or less remaining to serve on their sentences. Adult male criminal aliens are the type of inmates typically housed at ACCC.

Proposed facilities must range from a minimum of 1,200 to a maximum of 1,800 general population beds, which is the number of beds to which Grennell said the correctional center may have to cut.

Long would not confirm if the potential CoreCivic facility contract was connected to this solicitation, as it is an ongoing procurement and he could not discuss details.