Details released on latest Parchman inmate death

Another inmate at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman was found deceased over the weekend in an apparent suicide.

Previous reports indicated five Parchman inmates died by suicide in 2019, and suicides have been on the rise at the prison since 2014, when there were zero reported, according to the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. 

According to a release from Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton, offender Gabriel Carmen was found hanging in his cell by two Mississippi Department of Correction officers on Saturday evening.

Burton said, “At 6:41 p.m., the person that was cleaning the hall alerted the two officers that he was hanging, and they immediately ran to the cell to check on him.” According to her, she received the call from MDOC Security at Parchman at 7:23 p.m., advising her of Carmen’s death in Unit 29 Holding.

The coroner said she arrived at the unit at 8:27 p.m., and began her investigation. According to her release, the officers last saw Carmen personally during a security check at 6:20 p.m. “The officers noted the offender to be irate and throwing feces on the wall in the hall,” she said.

Burton added that prison security personnel attempted to enter the cell, but the cell lock was jammed from the inside with a pipe that Carmen had apparently removed from the toilet. “Maintenance had to respond to assist in opening the cell door so the medical staff could get to the offender,” she said.

Burton said Akeem Adebayo, MD, pronounced Carmen dead at 7:21 p.m. “These are the facts of the case, as they were given to me and upon my observation. Mr. Carmen was removed from the unit by MDOC medical staff and was transported to the State Medical Examiner for autopsy in accordance with state law. Official cause of death and manner of death are pending autopsy results,” said Burton.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections has experienced a half dozen deaths in state prisons since the start of the new year and in response to claims made by the families of the victims that they have been deprived of information, Burton had this to say. “I recently saw a protest rally where victim’s families stated they were not advised by MDOC of the details surrounding the death of their loved ones. I was unaware that they were not given details, so I have personally spoken to Mr. Carmen’s parents to express my condolences and offer answers to their questions.”

As per usual, Burton culminated her statements with a request to please keep the MDOC staff, inmates, their families and especially the Carmen family in prayers and to direct any further questions to MDOC. “May God bless you all,” she said.

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