June 10, 2016
The Mississippi Department of Corrections plans to close the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility by September due to "budget constraints and the prison population," a press release from MDOC says.
“MDOC’s budget is lower than what we anticipated,” Commissioner Marshall Fisher said in a press release. “Pursuant to an intensive budget review and evaluation, we have determined this is the most prudent action. We have the space in our state-run prisons to house the 900 inmates at Walnut Grove.”
Management and Training Corporation, which ran Walnut Grove, manages three other privately-operated prisons in the state (Marshall County Correctional Facility, East Mississippi Correctional Facility and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility), and Fisher said in a release that he is pleased with MTC.
“We look forward to continuing to work with MTC,” Fisher said in a release. “Ending our contract for Walnut Grove is about being fiscally responsible.”
MTC has operated the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility since 2012, and the current contract cost is $14.6 million annually.
“We are disappointed by the news but also understand the state must do what’s in the best interest of the taxpayers,” said MTC Senior Vice President of Corrections Bernie Warner said in a press release from the company. “Our hearts go out to the excellent staff at the facility. We have some of the best corrections professionals in the business at the facility, and we know this will be very difficult for them. We will do our best to help make the transition as smooth as possible.”