Mississippi Corrections Department Updates Governor's Task Force on Contract Bids
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Commissioner Marshall Fisher (far right) Addressing Task Force
Desare Frazier

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher told the governor's task force that the department awarded a 142.9 million dollar medical service contract to Centurion of Mississippi. He said that only Valley Foods has placed a bid for the food service and ten companies are competing for the commissary contract.

"I really have very serious problems with proceeding with business as usual." said Slaughter-Harvey

That's Constance Slaughter-Harvey, a retired attorney and member of the task force. She's concerned about the commissary contract. It was the arrest and subsequent guilty pleas of former MDOC Commissioner Christopher Epps and Businessman Cecil McCrory that led to the formation of the task force. Epps gave McCrory's company, G.T. Enterprises a no-bid commissary contract in exchange for money. Members of the task force say that McCrory sold G.T. Enterprises to a St. Louis company called Keefe, which is one of the bidders. Harvey thinks Fisher should review the pros and cons of out-sourcing that service.

"I don't think he's had an opportunity to do that. You have staff that were there when Epps was there, and they were a part of the Epps flavor. I'm not comfortable with that flavor continuing with this administration." said Slaughter-Harvey.

Task force member Andy Taggart, an attorney, isn't worried about a conflict of interest.

"On that particular point we just disagree because I think a competitive bidding process that it brings ten bidders to the table is almost guaranteed to result in a better deal than we had." said Taggart.

MDOC Commissioner Marshall Fisher also told the task force that the contracts for the four prisons privately operated by Management Training Company are under review.