First published on WhyIHateCCA
After the state of Mississippi announced it was not renewing its contract with the GEO Group (or that the GEO Group bailed on the state, depending on how you see it) following a litany of abuse and mismanagement issues at the prisons it ran for the state, the Department of Corrections needed to bring in another company to operate the private facilities formerly run by them. Apparently, the state did not consider just hiring additional corrections staff and taking control of the prisons itself.
Into the picture now comes MTC, or Management and Training Corporation, the third-largest private prison operator in the U.S. MTC most recently made headlines as the company in charge of the Kingman prison in Arizona, from which 3 felons (2 convicted murderers) escaped, fled across the country, killed an elderly couple, and stirred up a multi-state manhunt. Shortly thereafter, an audit found the facility had numerous security flaws that the prisoners exploited in their escape. This was part of what prompted many advocates to call for a statewide audit of private prisons that found the facilities to cost more than government-operated prisons. Then Republicans in the state legislature passed a bill to prohibit future audits. Of course.
So this is the company that Mississippi has apparently seen fit to give responsibility for prisoners in the former GEO Group facilities. MTC will operate 3 prisons for the state; Walnut Grove, East Mississippi CF, and Marshall County CF, while CCA will continue to operate an additional 2 facilities (one of which just suffered a riot). But many people, including this author, are skeptical that there will be any signifncant improvement at the prisons. Hopefully, Mississippi will have learned from at least some of its mistakes with the GEO Group, such as not having an enforcement mechanism in the contract to ensure adequate staffing levels.
Meanwhile, it looks like the GEO Group is seeking to expand northward into Canada since its reputation has taken such a hit here, and MTC is focusing their sights on our continental brethren as well. I just hope the Canadians learn from our mistakes.