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Core Civic close to securing new contract with ICE

NATCHEZ — Core Civic is close to completing a contract with U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement to house the agency’s federal inmates at the Adams County Correctional Facility after a contract with the Bureau of Prisons expires at the end of next month, city and county officials said.

Adams County District 2 Supervisor David Carter posted on social media Thursday that city and county officials met with the Core Civic, which owns and operates the Adams County Correctional Facility that employs some 300 people.

“We just had a good meeting with the warden and the team at Core Civic,” Carter’s social media post states. “They have a new contact being worked out for the Prison on HWY 84 that will continue all operations. They have 352 employees and will need an additional 40 primarily in the medical area. We appreciate Core Civic commitment to this area and look forward to their future here in Adams County.”

Contacted later, Carter said the head of Core Civic and the vice president were in attendance for the quarterly meeting to update local officials on the facility.

Core Civic officials announced last month that the Federal Bureau of Prisons had decided not to renew its contract to house inmates at the facility when the contract expires at the end of July.

At the time Core Civic and local officials expressed confidence that they would be able to find a new contract for the facility.

Carter said officials were confident at Thursday’s meeting that the contract will come to fruition.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said Thursday, however, that the city is still working up a management agreement and that much work needs to be done before the contract with ICE can be finalized.

Grennell said the federal contract had to go through a local government and the city offered to serve that role.

“With this particular contract, with the feds, it needs to come through a local government body,” Grennell said. “I had been in contact with them since the first day that I received notice that the contract was not going to be renewed — the current one — I immediately reached out to them to say, ‘What is it that I can do and the city can do to help to keep that prison open in this area?’”

Grennell said the facility is a benefit to the community in terms of jobs, but he is remaining cautiously optimistic about the new contract.

“It is not finalized yet, because we’ve got several things to do on our side,” Grennell said, “(City Attorney) Bob (Latham) is working tenaciously on it to try to get it ready so that I can present it to the board at our next board meeting.”

The next meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen is scheduled for July 9.

Then the paperwork must go to the state, Grennell said.

“I don’t dance until I get some ink on the paper, because I don’t want to get everybody’s hopes up until we get that ink,” Grennell said. “I’ve been through that numerous times, and I just like to make sure that everything has been finalized.”

Core Civic officials did not respond to a message left seeking comment for this story.