Mississippi corrections commissioner Christopher Epps said the GEO Group no longer would operate three private prisons in the state holding 4,000 inmates, reports the Grits for Breakfast blog, quoting NPR. Mississippi is seeking another contractor instead of taking their management in-house or downsizing youth facilities, as Texas has done.
The decision comes after legal setbacks for the company in federal court involving abuse allegations at a juvenile facility, though GEO insisted their departure is unrelated and denied the charges. A judge had cited evidence of youths being kicked, punched, and beaten by staff members. Texas has closed many of its juvenile facilities and may soon close the rest of them, shifting juvenile supervision to the counties and more aggressive community-based programming. Grits for Breakfast says, “It’s too bad Mississippi looks like it will continue contracting management of these facilities instead of taking the opportunity to pull them in-house or, better, downsize.”