Update: JJ confirmed with Grenada County Board of Supervisors President Chad Bridges that Mr. Benjamin informed the board on October 27 that he was terminating the management contract to operate the Grenada County jail. The letter is posted below.
Original post on November 22, 2014:
A former lobbyist for Mississippi Prison Industries resigned his position as warden of the Alcorn County jail yesterday. WTVA reported:
Alcorn County's jail warden, Irb Benjamin, is resigning from his position. The warden announced his plans to step down Thursday. Alcorn County Supervisor Lowell Hinton said Benjamin's resignation came as a surprise to the supervisors. He said Benjamin lives in Jackson and manages two other jails. He said the distance is a factor in why Benjamin is leaving.
The Alcorn County Board of Supervisors is currently taking applications for a new warden. They hope to have one before Benjamin's last day, which is Nov. 30. Hinton said Benjamin will have an assistant in place while the search for a new warden continues.Article
The Daily Corinthian also reported he announced his resignation after an escape from the jail. Supervisors said they were surprised by the announcement. Mr. Benjamin owns Mississippi Correctional Management, Inc. and is a resident of Madison. The registered agent is the Godfather of Madison County himself, Bob Montgomery. The company manages several jails in Mississippi.
The MDOC website states that the jail holds county and state prisoners. Then-MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps withdrew state prisoners from the facility in 2013 after a prisoner died of a drug overdose during an unapproved leave. Mr. Epps allowed Alcorn County to house state prisoners after the county awarded a jail-management contract to Mr. Benjamin's company in December 2013. Article
Mr. Benjamin also was the registered lobbyist for Mississippi Prison Industries from 2004 to 2012. He reported that he received no compensation from Mississippi Prison Industries. Mississippi Prison Industries is a non-profit corporation established and operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Here are some observations about Mr. Benjamin's activities as gleaned from the web:
*The Desoto County Board of Supervisors hired Mr. Benjamin at $3,000 a month in 2008 as a consultant to assist the county in building a new jail. Controversy erupted after two lower bids were rejected after Mr. Benjamin added language to the bid requirements that applicants must have built jails that cost at least $8 million. One company with a lower bid had constructed a jail for $6 million. Article
*MCM obtained approval to operate the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility. The facility accepts county and state prisoners. Article
*MCM managed the Marion/Walthall regional facility.
*The Winona Times reported in 2010 that Commissioner Epps recommended Mr. Benjamin to the Carroll County Board of Supervisors: :
Jail consultant Irb Benjamin gave the Carroll County Board of Supervisors a financial briefing on the Vaiden Jail and assured them that the facility is in good standing.
Benjamin, a representative from the Mississippi Correctional Management was referred to Carroll County Sheriff Jerry Carver from Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps.
Recently, the CMRCF have seen some troubles as a drop in state inmates worried county and jail officials on the incoming cash flow. Article
*MCM operates the Grenada County jail.
*MCM assisted the Pearl River County Sheriff prepare for accreditation. Article.