GREENWOOD — Budget cuts at the Bureau of Prisons have put choosing a location for a 1,600-bed minimum-security prison for illegal immigrants on the back burner, according to Mississippi corrections officials.
Management and Training Corporation, based in Centerville, Utah, submitted a bid to the federal government last summer to use the former Delta Correctional Facility, closed since January 2012, to house the prisoners. The DCF is located in Leflore County.
Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps tells the Greenwood Commonwealth with budget uncertainties, the Bureau of Prisons has put the bid process on hold.
In an excerpt from a letter posted by Forbes, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in addition to cuts in staff and vocational programs for inmates, the sequestration will “slow the ongoing activations of new prisons that have completed construction during the last few years.”
Epps has said he didn’t know the exact number of private prison operators bidding for the inmates but thought there were most likely several.
Epps also has said that MTC stood as good a chance of getting the bid as companies proposing to house the inmates in other states because Mississippi “has one of the lowest federal hourly wages in the country.”
The deal to reopen the former prison would require MTC to build a new 150-bed jail for the county because federal rules do not allow federal inmates to be housed in the same compound as a county jail. The county has a lease-purchase agreement with the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the portion of the state-owned compound that houses the jail.