Former corrections chief takes job with state’s prison phone contractor

Print Share on LinkedIn More

Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press

In this Sept. 17, 2018 file photo, Pelicia Hall, Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner. speaks before a meeting of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee Fiscal Year 2020 hearing in Jackson, Miss.

Former Mississippi Corrections Department commissioner Pelicia Hall is now working for the state’s prison phone contractor.

Hall resigned from the Mississippi Department of Corrections in mid-January amid increased public scrutiny over in-custody deaths and conditions inside facilities. Her LinkedIn profile says she started working as the “Senior Vice President of Reentry” at Global Tel*Link Corp. this month.

“With over eight years of corrections experience, both as legal counsel and most recently as Commissioner of Mississippi, Pelicia brings extensive experience to her role as Senior Vice President of Reentry at GTL,” wrote Randy Brown, a GTL spokesperson, in an emailed statement. “We welcome her to the team where she will focus on furthering our goal to improve outcomes for both incarcerated individuals and correctional facilities with a specific focus on preparing individuals for life after incarceration.”

GTL did not provide further details of Hall’s role or respond to a request to interview Hall directly.

Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hall to the top corrections post in 2017, making her the first woman to head the agency. Prior to that, Hall had served as interim commissioner, following the appointment of her predecessor Marshall Fisher to the Department of Public Safety. 

After Hall’s departure, newly-elected Gov. Tate Reeves named Tommy Taylor, a former state legislator and mayor of Boyle as interim commissioner. The governor has since announced a nationwide search to fill the position long term. 

GTL has contracted with Mississippi to provide phone equipment and services for people incarcerated inside state facilities since 2005.

In 2017, the company settled a civil RICO lawsuit filed by then-Attorney General Jim Hood for $2.5 million. The suit was one of several outlining an alleged bribery scheme in which multiple people and businesses used consultants to provide kickbacks to former commissioner Christopher Epps in exchange for contracts.

The cost of calls from MDOC facilities dropped from 11 cents per minute to 3.9 cents per minute in 2018, after the Federal Communications Commission set new rules on a rate cap for prison calls. The most current contract, from 2018, does not require GTL to pay the state any part of its revenue from phone calls.

The company has promoted the use of tablets for inmates to improve re-entry outcomes.