Inside Mississippi's Prisons | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Inside Mississippi's Prisons

A collection of JFP's investigations into Mississippi's prisons

City & County

State's Payments to CoreCivic for Housing Inmates at Private Prison May Exceed Legal Limits

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Mississippi's emergency contract with a private prison corporation to house 375 inmates could exceed legal limits even more than previously known.

Crime

Refugees Locked Up In Mississippi: ‘Where Are the Family Values?’

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Under the Trump administration, CoreCivic has a new mission at the Adams County Correctional Center: to house asylum seekers who are in the custody of the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement agency, also known as ICE.

Politics

DOSSIER: Mississippi Secrets Revealed, from 'Ole Miss' to RFK to Charles Overby

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"Most people in Mississippi who do not agree with the radical-conservative, racist status quo have always been afraid to speak publicly about it—certainly at least the white ones."

Cover

Deepest Midnight: Cedric Willis and The Failure of Mississippi Justice

Cedric Willis, then 19, stirred in his bed and looked up at his grandmother Sally. She had the smooth, dark skin of a woman 20 years younger, and her black hair, cropped short, rested atop her head like a crown. Bright beams of morning sunshine illuminated her through the blinds.

City & County

MDOC Hits ‘Breaking Point’

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Inmate deaths are not a new phenomenon in Mississippi. Some family members and activist organizations, like the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, have pointed to a lack of funding to explain rising prison violence.

Crime

OPINION: 'Chaos or Community'? Citizens Co-conspirators in Broken Criminal System

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"Mississippi leaders have historically created and encouraged incarceration as an intentional pathway for a segment of Mississippi's society, disproportionately the African American community."

Crime

Legal Group Seeks Federal Inquiry into Mississippi Prisons

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Prisoner advocates are calling on the federal government to investigate Mississippi’s prison system for possible civil rights violations, saying the violence of recent days highlights deliberate violations of inmates’ constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

City & County

One of Two Escapees from Troubled Mississippi Prison in Custody

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One of two prisoners believed to have escaped from one of several Mississippi prisons recently rocked by violence is back in custody, authorities said early Sunday.

Crime

Mississippi Prison Deaths Follow Warnings of Meager Funding, Shortages

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Three more Mississippi prisoners have died at the hands of other inmates in the six days since the Mississippi Department of Corrections initiated a statewide prison lockdown last Sunday, bringing the week's death toll to four.

Crime

Fourth Death in Mississippi Prisons; Judge Says Other Prison OK

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Another Mississippi inmate has died at the hands of a fellow inmate, bringing the death toll to four amid disturbances over the past week in the state prison system.

Crime

Judge Rules 1 Mississippi Prison OK, Among Deaths at Others

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A federal judge has rejected claims that conditions in a Mississippi prison are unconstitutionally harsh. His ruling comes amid violence at three other corrections facilities that resulted in the deaths of three inmates this week.

Civil Rights

Lawsuit: Inmates Have the Right to Free, Secular Books in Prison

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Big House Books, a nonprofit that sends free books by request to inmates, filed a lawsuit against the South Mississippi Correctional Institution this week because inmates there cannot receive books that are donated, the lawsuit says.

Justice

Debtors’ Prisons Out, Parole For More People

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Criminal-justice reform is and has been a bipartisan issue in the Mississippi Legislature in recent years, and 2018 is no exception.

Crime

Sheriffs Decry Cutbacks, Private Prison Contracts

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Mississippi sheriffs packed into Room 113 at the Capitol Monday to express frustrations after the Mississippi Department of Corrections announced a reduction in inmates housed at the 15 regional facilities in the state even as taxpayer money is going to fund private, corporate-operated prisons.

Crime

Sabotage, Death, Danger: Private Prison on Trial

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The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Prison Project of the ACLU and two other law firms brought a class-action lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections back in 2013 due to conditions at EMCF.

Civil Rights

Private Prison Trial Starts Today Over Alleged Squalor, Rats, Deaths

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Inmates housed at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility alleged squalor conditions, solitary confinement practices, lack of medical and mental health care, and an overall unsafe environment. Five years later, the case goes to trial before U.S. District Judge William Barbour today.

Crime

MDOC Wants New Private Prison Contracts

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The Mississippi Department of Corrections is ending its contracts with a Utah-based private prison firm to operate four state penitentiaries and rebidding the work.

Justice

Miss. Leaders Examine Ways to Reduce Prison Costs

Mississippi leaders on Wednesday pledged bipartisan cooperation to make the state's criminal justice system more effective and less expensive.

Business

MDOC Sticks with Private Prisons

Sometime between the 8:45 p.m. and the 9:15 p.m. staff shift change on July 30, 2010, Tracy Alan Province, John Charles McCluskey and Daniel Kelly Renwick escaped from Arizona State Prison-Kingman. Just after 10 p.m., perimeter-patrol officers discovered a 30-by-22-inch hole in the fence. Two hours after the prison determined the inmates had escaped, Arizona Department of Corrections assumed command and the U.S. Marshals Service launched a manhunt.

Politics

Chris Epps, Ex-Prison Boss, Pleads Not Guilty in Corruption Case

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Christopher B. Epps, the former director of Mississippi's prison system, sat in federal courthouse as some of the people around him made small talk, some even joking about the charges Epps faces.

Business

Private Prison, Public Problems

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Gail Tyree exited U.S. Highway 84 onto Hobo Fork Road and drove through the rose-adorned entrance of the sprawling Adams County Correctional Center. A female correctional officer leaving the prison's main administration building scrutinized Tyree's car as she circled the parking lot.

Crime

In Prison Reform, Will Racism Persist?

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Mississippi is going to make its criminal-justice system work better. That's how newly minted House Corrections Committee Chairman Tommy Taylor, R-Boyle, started a joint meeting of the Mississippi House Corrections and Judiciary B committees.

State

State Prisons End Conjugal Visits

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Although its precise origins are unclear, Parchman was the first penal institution in the U.S. to permit conjugal visits.

State

Report: Meridian Prison Still a ‘Cesspool’

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New information about a troubled private prison raises questions about a Jackson company that has a contract to provide medical care and the possible role of a local judge.