MDOC Faces Deadline to Respond to EMCF Lawsuit

Jackson, Miss. A federal judge has given the state until July 17 to respond formally to a lawsuit that challenges conditions at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility at Lost Gap.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections says it's working with Management & Training Corporation, operators of EMCF, to respond to the lawsuit that alleges barbaric conditions at the prison. MTC is not named in the lawsuit.

MDOC says its policy is to let the facts play out in court. However, it says the allegations made against MDOC officials are "unfairly damaging to its commitment to provide efficient and effective offender custody, care, control and treatment consistent with sound correctional principles and constitutional practices."

In a news release, the department says it has responded accordingly whenever it has been made aware of problems.

"MDOC has monitors at all of its prisons, including EMCF," said Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps. "MDOC was not satisfied with EMCF’s previous operator, The GEO Group Inc., and the plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit agreed with the decision to go with a new operator. The plaintiffs indicated they were happy when MTC was hired. Now they indicate they want the current operator fired. We believe that MTC is doing a good job, and are confident the court will agree."

MDOC says it does not knowingly ignore informed and sound requests for solutions and state prison in itself can be considered barbaric.

Epps said MDOC has shown its willingness to listen to concerns and do what's right by settling previous issues raised by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The prison has a capacity of 1,362 inmates.