TUTWILER, Miss. (AP) - The first group of prisoners from Hawaii are expected to arrive at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility next week, officials say.
County officials signed a two-year agreement Thursday to house prisoners from Hawaii at the private prison.
The facility at Tutwiler is currently empty except for about 30 county inmates. A county correctional authority oversees the prison, which is operated by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America.
About 475 maximum-security Hawaiian inmates will arrive by midsummer from other CCA facilities in Arizona and Oklahoma, said CCA spokeswoman Lucy Beth Mayberry. By August, 125 additional inmates will join them.
CCA will continue to market the remaining 750 beds to other states in an attempt to fill the prison to capacity, said CCA spokesman Tony Grande.
In exchange, CCA will pay $3,000 per month to the Tallahatchie Correctional Authority. For every inmate over 700, CCA will pay an extra 50 cents.
In 2005, the fee increases to $5,000 per month, Grande said.
The contract with Hawaii is with the Correctional Authority, which in turn contracts with CCA.
About 145 prison workers remain on board at the Tutwiler lockup from roughly 280 when the state of Alabama ended its short-term contract in March.
The contract with Hawaii calls for educational and vocational programs for inmates, as well as other services typical of facilities that house long-term inmates, said Dick Smelser, Tutwiler's new assistant warden.
Smelser and other CCA staff from Arizona have been working with local prison workers to prepare them for the Hawaiian inmates.
"We've been training our staff for four weeks -- two of them on just dealing with Hawaiian prisoners," said prison Warden Jim Cooke. "They've been learning about their gangs and culture, and we're going to make it a smooth transition for everybody."