State resumes sending inmates to Alcorn County

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from The Mississippi Department of Corrections

The Mississippi Department of Corrections will resume sending inmates to the Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility starting Dec. 17.

"The county has contracted with an experienced prison management company," Corrections Commissioner Christopher B. Epps said. "Therefore, I am satisfied that state law and established MDOC policies and procedures will be followed."

Epps had stopped sending state inmates to the Alcorn County facility in November after finding that Sheriff Charles Rinehart had violated MDOC policy and procedure. Specifically, the sheriff had granted passes to six ineligible inmates. The state's inquiry into the death of one of those inmates led to the finding.

Rhinehart had until Nov. 29 to provide the commissioner with a plan detailing that the unauthorized passes were discontinued.

On Dec. 2, the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors approved a two-year agreement with Mississippi Correctional Management Inc., or MCM, to operate, manage and maintain the facility.

MCM's president, Irb Benjamin, a former state legislator, is a jail consultant with the county.

"This contract is in the best interest of the county and public safety," Epps said. "This whole matter boiled down to ensuring that public safety for the citizens of Alcorn County and the state was no longer jeopardized."