Prison reform groups say violence in MDOC could have been prevented

Prison reform groups say violence in MDOC could have been prevented
The group gathered outside the Mississippi state capitol Tuesday. (Source: WLBT)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Reform advocates and families marched around the state Capitol Tuesday, demanding action.

Danyelle Holmes, the Poor People’s Campaign National Organizer, said they received calls of family members concerned over their incarcerated relatives.

“We’ve gotten pictures of individuals that were stabbed. We got reports of individuals that have been stabbed and had not received medical attention as late as last night,” said Holmes.

PRISON PROTEST: We're following a protest in Jackson over prison reform.

Posted by WLBT 3 On Your Side on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Advocates said the poor conditions in prisons like Parchman are ongoing.

Nshombi Lambright of One Voice Mississippi explained how litigation back in the 90s led to the closing of Unit 32 in Parchman.

“The super-max facility that is now being used still to hold people in this emergency. When you’re seeing these people of folks in Unit 32, this has been closed down because of conditions,” she said.

Demonstrators said inmates are not the only ones affected by the violence and feeble prisons.

MDOC workers are overworked and underpaid, according to their representative Brenda Scott.

“The raise that the correctional officers got. Say you been there ten years and you’re making 32-thousand dollars a year. If the entry level for that position is 30 thousand, that’s the raise they got. They didn’t get three-percent of they were currently making. They got three-percent of the entry level,” said Scott.

The demonstrators believe this week’s exposure could lead to significant change

The rally comes amid unrest in the state’s prison systems, include inmate deaths, gang fights and lockdowns.

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