‘That’s somebody’s son’: Families of inmates at Parchman say they’re worried, angry at conditions

Families of inmates at Parchman say they’re worried and angry at conditions

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In the group of demonstrators at the State Capitol Tuesday, there were parents and children and spouses and friends of inmates in Parchman, and they’re worried.

“My son has a big cyst on his back, he hasn’t had a shower in three weeks, he has pus coming all out of his back that could cause a staph infection, and he could die," said Honey Ates.

She is like so many other people with loved ones inside Parchman. She’s worried sick about her son, especially after she got information that there was going to be a gang war and tried to contact MDOC with no luck.

“I had inside info that the gang violence was going to go on in Parchman and in Greene County, and I called to let them know it was going to happen and they did nothing. They knew hours before it was going to happen and they knew what building it was going to happen in,” she said.

Ates is not the only family member that has told us they reached out to MDOC to try to stop the violence. Some said they tried as early as November and December.

Ruleville resident Christy Wright, whose husband is incarcerated, said it’s actually affecting her life on several levels that she has to worry about her husband and doesn’t have any way of knowing how he is.

“I’m very stressed, I’m not sleeping, I don’t sleep. I’m constantly on edge,” she said. “Every time my phone rings I’m scared, but, at the same time, I want it to be them. I want it to be him.”

Akinola Gonzalez of Chicago has a friend who is in Parchman, and he said he hasn’t heard from him in days. What he does know is that he’s heard about deplorable conditions.

“The thing that I don’t get is how can you place inmates who are human beings in black mold, sewage water, chipping paint, and let them sleep on the ground?” he asked.

Sharon Brown said she wants the finger pointing to stop and the answer-finding to begin. It’s time to stop disrespecting human life, she said, adding that the accommodations don’t have to be hotel grade, just livable.

“We no longer can stand by silently and watch our people get slaughtered. That’s somebody’s son, that’s somebody’s brother, that’s somebody’s uncle, that’s somebody’s father," she said.

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