CORINTH, Miss. (AP) — Officials removed 240 state inmates from a prison here Thursday after investigators said they found widespread violations — including the discovery that inmates had crossed state lines while doing community service.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections says the inmates were removed from the Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility and put in other state prisons. Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher, in a news release, alleges inmates were allowed to change uniforms to disguise their custody status, work on personal vehicles and go across state lines.
MDOC spokeswoman Grace Fisher said why the inmates were outside of the facility and what they were doing remains under investigation. She said the inmates involved in the alleged infractions were ineligible to participate in such work programs because of their custody status.
The investigation was conducted by the State Auditor’s Office and corrections officials. The investigation is ongoing and the FBI is involved too, officials said.
The State Auditor’s Office is also looking into the finances of the Alcorn County Justice Center and the use of state inmates working on private property. Officials said funds may have been misappropriated.
“These allegations were disturbing to hear,” Commissioner Fisher said. “The alleged actions indicate clear violations of MDOC practices and procedures.”
Fisher called the misdeeds at Alcorn prison “flippant practices” for which he has “zero tolerance.”
Officials said they combed over the prison before removing the inmates Thursday. The results of what they found are pending.
The corrections department also said it had suspended its contract with Alcorn County.
In November 2013, the corrections department also suspended the use of the Alcorn County Regional prison after it was discovered that six ineligible inmates had been given unauthorized passes.