Interim MDOC commissioner lays out plans to improve prison system

Full interview: MDOC Interim Commissioner Tommy Taylor

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Last week, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced the formation of a search committee to find a new commissioner for Mississippi Department of Corrections.

The search group is made up of current and former sheriffs, district attorneys, a judge and a former parole board member.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs is on the committee. He said resumes are flooding in from across the nation.

In the meantime, Tommy Taylor, the Mayor of Boyle, was given the interim position.

The committee has been adamant on swift action given the state of the prison system in Mississippi.

“I’ll tell them just like I’m telling you. I’m not going to sit back and just wait for somebody to tell me this or that," Taylor said. "I’m going to find out first hand and you know, everybody has their own thoughts about what happens here and what’s happening there, but we, until you put yourself in the trenches and on the ground, you’re not going to know.”

Taylor said the state must find innovative ways to give inmates positive things to do behind bars.

“That always has been one of my priorities in corrections is if you give an inmate something to do to keep them occupied and help them even if it’s--we use an innovative approach. It’s not written in the books--but we use our own good ideas that can help them, to keep them busy you’ll have less problems of them thinking about something to get into.”

Taylor said he doesn’t want to depend on secondhand information about issues in the prison system.

“I’m very high on accountability. We’ve got to be transparent, we’ve got to be fiscally responsible and we have to be compassionate.”

He also said MDOC must be transparent in handling issues and dealing with the public.

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