The Clarion-Ledger, 2/15/9

As part of its cost-cutting plan, the Mississippi Department of Corrections has a hiring freeze, employees who leave aren’t being replaced unless they are essential security personnel, and prisoners are being removed from county jails and private prisons.

The MDOC has had to trim its budget by $16.4 million the past two months, Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps said. His department had mandatory budget cuts in November and January.

Lagging state revenues are prompting most state departments to make cuts of up to 5 percent. In January, Gov. Haley Barbour cut $158 million from the budget after ordering $42 million in cuts in November.

With an annual budget of $346 million, MDOC is one of the state’s largest agencies.