U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, who represents Sunflower County as part of Congressional District 2, continues to put the pressure on the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
This time, he has asked Sunflower County District Attorney Dewayne Richardson to convene a grand jury to investigate the most recent crisis at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
“Perhaps the citizens of Sunflower County who are directly impacted can determine whether criminal charges should be brought,” Thompson said in a tweet this week, which included the letter he sent to Richardson.
The letter is dated Jan. 9.
“Enclosed are two copies of complaints that I am a party to regarding what is happening within the Mississippi Department of Corrections – specifically, Parchman Penitentiary,” the letter begins. “I am convinced that these complaints warrant a grand jury investigation. In your capacity as district attorney, I implore you to attempt to convene or reconvene a grand jury in Sunflower County to investigate the wdidspread violence and unsanitary conditions involving inmates.”
Parchman was ground zero for violence that erupted across Mississippi’s prison system in the opening days of 2020.
Three inmates were killed in three days in what was described as “gang-related” violence.
Thompson has been outspoken about the living conditions at Parchman and on the inmates’ deaths.
Three days before sending his letter to Richardson, a letter dated Jan. 6 was sent to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting an investigation into “inhumane conditions and deaths of inmates” at the prison.