Mississippi has one of the highest incarceration rates in the United States, and its prison system has long been plagued by accusations of brutality, corruption and abuse. This year, the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica have teamed up to understand why the state’s prisons haven’t gotten better, even after a landmark prison reform law.
“The problems at Parchman are severe, systemic, and exacerbated by serious deficiencies in staffing and supervision,” the report said.
The agency’s Civil Rights Division decided to act after a letter from prison reformers citing stories by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica.
Understaffed and underfunded, Mississippi’s Parchman prison recently received media attention for its grisly violence, gang control and subhuman living conditions. However, lawmakers have known about these issues for years and have done nothing to fix them.
Following our reporting, top Republicans and Democrats want to take a closer look at Mississippi’s prison system. Meanwhile, one gang says it has turned in more than 250 weapons to show it’s against violence.
Prisons in Alabama are so bad, the Department of Justice said they violate Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment. We found prisons in Mississippi that may be even worse.
At South Mississippi Correctional Institution, inmates have been on perpetual lockdown for seven months and gangs enforce rules. With frequent beatings, burnings and escapes, the prison has become a violent tinderbox.
ProPublica and the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting are spending this year reporting on what’s happening behind the walls of the state’s prisons.
What began as a call from an inmate turned into a yearslong effort to chronicle corruption, gangs, violence and maltreatment inside Mississippi prisons.
Trump Hailed This State’s Prison Reforms as a National Model — but the Numbers Reflect a Grim Reality
When Mississippi lawmakers passed prison reform legislation in 2014, they pledged to devote some of the savings to drug rehabilitation, reentry programs and prison alternatives. That hasn’t happened.