Associated Press: Judge wants new look at prison conditions before ruling

Earlier this year, Mississippi Today reported on the trial start in a lawsuit over conditions at East Mississippi Correctional Facility – a privately run prison. The lawsuit alleges that the Mississippi Department of Corrections “has deliberately ignored or failed to remediate the life-threatening conditions that persist” at the prison, which is operated by a Centerville, Utah-based company — Management & Training Corp., Mississippi Today reported. The Associated Press is now reporting that the federal judge overseeing the trial on Friday ordered that the prison be re-examined. According to the AP report, U.S. District Judge William Barbour wants experts from both sides to see whether conditions have improved. He ordered reports filed by December, with a possible hearing in January.

Organization gets $1 million grant to aid Gulfport, region

The efforts of the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District of Gulfport got a boost last week when the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the organization a $1 million grant. The funds, announced last week in a news release, will provide a cash infusion for the organization’s Revolving Loan Fund – a program that helps supplement small businesses and entrepreneurs in the region. According to the organization’s estimate, the project is expected to help create 168 jobs, retain 59 jobs and spur $4.8 million in private investment. “The Department of Commerce and its bureaus have been working diligently to aid communities across the country which have been devastated by natural disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the news release announcing the grant. “This Revolving Loan Fund will provide critical support to businesses throughout Mississippi, empowering local entrepreneurs all over the state.”

The Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District is a regional planning organization that supports development and a variety of services in 15 southern Mississippi counties along with 38 municipalities, its website states.