JACKSON –The Mississippi Department of Corrections is considering its next step
regarding the housing of state inmates at the Issaquena County Regional
Correctional Facility after receiving a demand today from the Issaquena County
Board of Supervisors.
The MDOC learned from media reports that the board voted Monday to close the
regional facility effective Dec. 17. On Wednesday, Commissioner Pelicia E. Hall
told supervisors and Sheriff Richard Jones in a letter that the decision had been
unilaterally made, and the MDOC did not receive any written notice before, nor had
it received any after, as required under the current Inmate Housing Agreement.
“If the county moves forward to shut down the regional operation as it relates to the
housing of state inmates, the county will have defaulted on said Inmate Housing
Agreement,” Commissioner Hall said in the letter. “As such, the MDOC will take
the appropriate action.”
In two letters dated Wednesday, the county is demanding a lump sum payment of
$312,270, a higher per diem of $29.74 per inmate and 350 inmates, an increase over
the current maximum 334.
Commissioner Hall told the county that the demand will not be met because it is
outside the terms of the existing contract signed by the board president, Sheriff
Jones, and the MDOC. Also, she said, there is no requirement under state law that
the MDOC meet the demand.
The current contract, dated July 1, 2016, sets the per diem at $23.92 per inmate, with
a 2 percent increase each year. The current per diem is $25.61 per inmate.
The MDOC is fulfilling its obligation under the current contract and is current on all
payments to Issaquena County.
Commissioner Hall said should the county proceed as planned, it will be in breach
of the contract. “And, the MDOC will exercise any available remedies under the law
to address the breach,” she told the county.
“It is a threat to public safety for you to cease operation of the facility and
supervision of the state inmates without preparations being made for security and
housing of those inmates,” she said.
The regional facility has 321 state inmates today.