/State eyes other uses for former Walnut Grove prison

State eyes other uses for former Walnut Grove prison

Walnut Grove was closed by prison officials this summer. It housed children convicted in felonies, and was the focus of a lawsuit. Alternatives to incarceration include re-entry, or as a facility for technical parole violations. State corrections officials stated in a press release that the state’s prisons would be geared towards rehabilitation and the large number incarcerated persons with mental illness. Commissioner Marshall Fisher stated that the Walnut Grove site will not be abandoned. “Just like we have formed a partnership to assist us in supervising mental ill prisoners both inside and out of prison, we are strongly seeking other ways to help inmates return to their communities in a meaningful manner and stay out of prison,” Fisher’s agency reported. Fisher’s agency says that 3,194 mentally ill prisoners are currently housed in state prisons. One in five of the 15,000 held reported substance abuse. This includes alcohol and drug use. Last week, the Corrections Department transferred approximately 900 of its inmates to other state prisons. Fisher stated that the Corrections Department did not transfer the last of the approximately 900 inmates to other state prisons because of the recent federal Bureau of Prison decision to stop using private companies to run its facilities. The Justice Department reported on a 2012 riot in Natchez at a private prison that led to the death of a guard. Fisher stated that MDOC’s decision not to close Walnut Grove was in no way related to the U.S. Department of Justice decision. Fisher also said that the closure is not the result of any advocacy groups’ ‘victory. Management & Training Corporation had made significant improvements to the prison, so that juvenile offenders no longer lived there. The consent decree that provided oversight for Walnut Grove was not necessary. It was managed by Management & Training Corp. of Utah, which also holds contracts for three other state prisons. The Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility is operated by the Corrections Corporation of America in Tennessee for the state of California.