MDOC release statement on recent prison violence


The Mississippi Department of corrections on Friday released its first comprehensive statement on the violence this week that left four inmates dead in four prison facilities across the state, including two at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

“We are continuing to be vigilant and mindful of the situation,” Commissioner Pelicia E. Hall said in the detailed statement, which confirmed that gang-related activity did lead to some of the upheaval in recent days. “These are trying times for the Mississippi Department of Corrections. It is never a good feeling for a commissioner to receive a call that a life has been lost, especially over senseless acts of violence.”

MDOC said in the statement that a fifth death and a minor fire at Parchman this week were unrelated to what the agency phrased as “disturbances.”

Hall said the there has been a lot of misinformation floating about the communities affected by the deaths, especially on social media.

It is worth noting that although MDOC released a statement after the second death on Thursday, it did not return phone calls and requests for interviews made by The E-T.

“I understand the public’s right and need to know,” Commissioner Hall continued. “But my department will not rush to release information for the sake of perpetuating rumors. Contrary to what is being said, we are providing information. There is a process to releasing accurate information and that takes time.”

For now, the state’s prisons remain on lockdown to the public, the release said.

“All movement at the three state prisons, three privately managed prisons, and 15 regional facilities is limited to emergencies only,” the release said. “Open bay housing units continue to be a challenge to manage at all facilities because inmates are not secured in single cells.”

“The MDOC, private prison operators and sheriffs of the regionals are working together to make sure that facilities are as safe as possible because of the different housing structures,” Hall said. “Not everyone is locked in a cell.”

Hall said once the investigations are concluded, and the aggressors known, MDOC will be able to release more information.

Hall announced this week her resignation from the agency, with intentions of returning to the private sector. She is scheduled to stand down middle of January.

Click the link below for The E-T's comprehensive coverage of the Parchman deaths, escapes


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