Governor Phil Bryant says a new task force will help root out any remaining corruption in the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The fallout continues from the indictment of the former commissioner.
The corrections task force was formed in the wake of former Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps being accused of orchestrating a million dollar bribery and kickback scheme.
Members of the task force will have to figure out exactly how such extensive corruption continued for so long.
At the heart of the allegations are abuses of the contracting process, something Governor Phil Bryant says will likely be front and center of any reform.
"I can assure you that we are going to turn over every rock. We are going to look at every contract. We are going to find out what is wrong and replace it. Last year we tried to introduce legislation that would have reformed the contract review board. It passed the house and died in the senate. We will re-introduce that this year," Bryant said.
Bryant says they are currently searching nationwide for a replacement to run the 300-million dollar a year prison system.
"I want the very best person we can get. The job pays 130-thousand dollars a year, so that is going to narrow the pool honestly," Bryant said.
Bryant expects to nominate a replacement by the end of the year.
Former commission Chris Epps is expected back in court in early January, facing 49 separate criminal counts.