Senate Overrides Governor's Veto On Corrections Bill

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- The Mississippi Senate has overridden the governor's veto of a bill that directed the Department of Corrections to move inmates to regional and private prisons.

The vote was 40-12 Thursday, five more than the two-thirds required. The House is expected to take up the veto Friday.

The vote came after a flurry of activity at the Capitol. Senate leaders scurried to get enough votes to override the veto. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove lobbied senators to sustain his veto.

Earlier, Attorney General Mike Moore said the DOC should follow whatever public policy the Legislature adopts. He said there are inmates in the county jails that could be transferred to the regional jails and private prisons.

The bill vetoed by Musgrove appropriated money to the DOC for its operations and to reimburse counties, the regional jails and private prisons for the housing of the state inmates. The bill also increased the number of inmates that would be housed in the 10 regional jails and two private prisons.

``This is a bad bill,'' Musgrove said Wednesday in announcing he was striking down the corrections spending bill, which set aside $5 million to $6 million for unfilled beds at private prisons and regional jails.

Corrections Commissioner Robert Johnson says the state would be paying for ``ghost'' inmates.

``Our money ought to be put in areas of priority and not areas like ghost prison beds,'' Musgrove said in announcing the corrections veto late Wednesday.

The bill is Senate Bill 3123.

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