Prison inmates attack officers at understaffed prison

On Monday afternoon at around 1:30 p.m. during a routine shakedown, five prison inmates at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution attacked seven officers on duty. All officers are recovering after being rushed to Forrest General Hospital. That's not the first incident.

"People are scared to work out there," said George Perkins, Mayor of Leakesville.

"Unfortunately, this is not the first incident that's happened between prison guards and prisoners here just a couple of days ago an inmate hit a prison guard over the head with a bread tray and that prison guard is still in the hospital recovering from his injuries. This situation we consider pretty dire down here."

The officer to inmate ratio is approximately 1 officer per 200 inmates, and the male to female ratio among employees is approximately 80 percent female and 20 percent male, according to a source who asks to remain anonymous. Teens may begin employment at MS prisons at age 18.

Perkins called a special meeting recently to tell Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn about his concerns.

"He (Phillip Gunn) didn't think things like that was happening in America. That's his words. He said it'll be on the governor's desk the next day... I don't know if anything was done, because we've had 2 major incidents since then. Right before that, we had an escapee, and right now, we've got officers getting hurt out there now."

He says the low employment number must be addressed immediately.

When we asked the mayor about his greatest concern, this is what he said:

"A breakout. If we wake up in the middle of the night being informed we've got 50 violent offenders out here running loose in these woods around here, people are going to panic."