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Mississippi: More Contraband Found at Private Prisons

On March 25, 2015, state corrections officials conducted a shakedown at the privately-operated Marshall County Correctional Facility and seized weapons, cell phones and other contraband. Mississippi DOC Commissioner Marshall Fisher said it was believed that some staff members were complicit in bringing in contraband and that he expected criminal prosecutions to follow.

Recent shakedowns at five Mississippi prisons, both public and private, have resulted in the confiscation of nearly 200 weapons. Former U.S. Attorney Brad Pigott said the numbers so far suggest that the problem of weapons is more prevalent in private prisons. He also indicated that private prisons are using money “which could have gone into hiring enough guards to find and remove knives from prisoners, and they are sending those tax dollars instead to their corporate headquarters.”

For-profit prison company Management and Training Corporation (MTC), which operates three of the prisons involved in the shakedowns, including the Marshall County Correctional Facility, responded to the criticism by saying contraband is a problem at all prisons both public and private. Company spokesman Issa Arnita noted the company has created a K9 team that conducts unannounced contraband sweeps, and has installed a body scanner and anti-contraband netting.

According to Arnita, MTC “has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to staff members who attempt to break the law and introduce contraband into our facilities. Staff members caught attempting to bring contraband into our facilities will not only be terminated but will be criminally prosecuted to the highest extent of the law.”

Source: The Clarion-Ledger

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