Keefe group is conducting a review of the prison system due to the pending conviction of a corrections officer for corruption charges. They feel the no-bid contracts need to be eliminated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections so better deals can be secured. The task force consists of five members and they are giving Governor Phil Bryant twelve initial recommendations. The group was appointed by Bryant following the federal corruption charges filed against businessman Cecil McCrory and the former Commissioner of Corrections Christopher Epps. The charges were regarding prison contracts and both men have pleaded not guilty. Visit The Dispatch to know more about Keefe Group.
If the recommendations of the task force are accepted six contracts will have to placed for competitive bids. Three of the six contracts are with the Management and Training Corporation in Utah who handles Mississippi prisons, two provide inmates with medical services and are with Health Assurance LLC based in Jackson and the final contract is for commissary services provided to prisons in Mississippi by The Keefe Group. The recommendation of the task force to have all contracts go through a bidding process. They also believe a committee needs to determine if the state should continue its practice of using private companies. Read more news on Tampa Bay Times
Epps was the commissioner for a period of twelve years. He resigned on November 5th from a job earning him $132,000 per year and the indictment from federal prosecutors was received the next day. Both Epps and the former state representative McCrory were charged. Prosecutors state beginning in 2007 Epps steered prison contracts towards companies McCrory was affiliated with. One of McCrory’s companies called G.T. Enterprises received a contract in 2007 for commissary services. In 2008 the services were taken over by The Keefe Group after their parent company purchased G.T. Enterprises.
The commissary system allows families to give inmates money to purchase items such as candy bars or combs. The items are generally delivered within a few days. At one point in time the commissary system was run without the use of a private contractor. The consensus of opinion is the commissary duty should be resumed by the department since the exorbitant prices have become burdensome for the inmates. Visit: https://www.kununu.com/us/keefe-group