JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi Department of Corrections announced Wednesday that the state’s prisoners are among the safest in the nation when it comes to COVID-19 infections and deaths, citing data from the inmate advocacy group the Marshall Project.
MDOC reported 1,383 positive COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths out of the 17,000 inmates in the state’s prison system.
Mississippi’s COVID-19 death rate for inmates is lower than other southern states such as Florida, Georgia and Texas, according to MDOC, and the total number of inmate deaths from the virus is the lowest of all southern states.
“This is proof that we made the right decision in immediately buying, installing and using sanitization equipment in every area of our prisons as quickly as we could,” MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain said in a Wednesday news release. “The temptation had been to wait on thousands of kits to test 17,000 inmates but testing and results would have taken weeks during which the virus could have spread like wildfire. Therefore, we started sanitizing as if everyone had the virus. In comparison to other states, our decision was correct to immediately take action with sanitization.”
MDOC said the cause of inmate deaths is determined by local coroners, independent of MDOC.
Earlier in January, the Marshall Project released a state-by-state comparison of COVID-19 in America’s prisons. According to its data, Mississippi ranks among the states with the lowest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths per 10,000 inmates.