This story is part of an ongoing investigation into Mississippi’s corrections system. Sign up for the Locked Down newsletter to receive updates in this series as soon as they publish.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections has received national praise for its criminal justice reform efforts. The department claims to be improving the system, but there’s very little transparency about what’s actually changing and how taxpayer money is being spent.

Meanwhile, we’ve been hearing a very different story from those who are closest to the situation.

We’ve heard about gangs and unchecked violence. Delayed medical care. Corruption. Prisons without heat. Inmates unable to communicate with their families.

And they’re not the only ones paying the price. Mississippi’s prisons now have fewer than half as many correctional officers as in 2014, with about the same number of inmates behind bars. We’ve heard from correctional officers who fear — every day — for their lives.

Former or current inmates, family and friends, contractors, employees or those working to make a difference in corrections: We’re looking for anyone who’s had any experience with Mississippi’s prisons recently to help us understand what’s going on behind these walls.

Here is what we need: more stories, more proof and information about who, what and where we should be investigating.

Please reach out to us at mississippi@propublica.org or by filling out the form below.

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