Gov. Reeves announces nationwide search for MDOC commissioner

Updated: Jan. 16, 2020 at 2:49 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves is launching a search for a new commissioner of Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Incumbent commissioner Pelicia Hall announced her intention to leave the position last month.

Reeves announced a new group to help his search, led by Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, Jr.

Tommy Taylor, the Mayor of Boyle, was tabbed as the interim commissioner. He previously served as prison warden in Bolivar County.

Reeves said he wants to fulfill his promise to clean up the prison system. He said there is a “leadership crisis” within the system that starts at the top.

Reeves aid he thinks throwing money at the problem will solve things, but he does want a bigger salary for prison guards. He said the vast majority of guards are doing tremendous work and deserve to be compensated for it.

Reeves said there’s more money being spent on the prison system despite less inmates in the system than in the past years. There’s currently about 19,000 prisoners in the state system.

Flaggs said they need someone who can reform the department.

“I know the governor understands the importance of the task he has been handed,” Flaggs said.

Reeves said the Department of Public Safety will assign a Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officer to look at the issues in the prisons. That officer will be stationed at Parchman and seek out any criminal activity going on at any prison.

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