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US Immigration Agency Sets New Contract With Mississippi Prison

FILE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) together with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) officers prepare to make arrests at an agricultural processing facility in Canton, Mississippi, Aug. 7, 2019.

A privately run prison in Mississippi says it has a new five-year contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Natchez Democrat reported that the Adams County Correctional Center, operated by CoreCivic, says the contract will add 50 jobs, and provide the county with about 50 cents per inmate per day, which could boost county revenue by $400,000 a year.

Some of the people arrested in immigration raids at Mississippi chicken processing plants last month are being held in the prison outside Natchez.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons had said in May that it would not renew its contract for the 2,232-bed prison. Without a contract, more than 390 jobs were at risk of being lost.

“Ultimately, we were able to retain one of our largest employers as well as one of our largest taxpayers,” said Chandler Russ, who runs the Natchez Inc. economic development agency. “It is a huge win for us.”

Russ said the new contract calls for about 425 CoreCivic employees — 35 more jobs than were called for in the previous contract with the Bureau of Prisons. ICE also will create 25 to 30 new positions locally. Previously, the Bureau of Prisons had two to four employees, Russ said.

Russ said that the prison pays roughly $2 million in taxes annually, including revenue for the school district.

Before Tuesday's announcement, the prison was holding 600 adult ICE detainees under an amended contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons that expired Friday, the CoreCivic news release said.

CoreCivic said it anticipates ICE will soon begin using additional space at the facility under the new contract.