/Mississippi’s death row inmates weren’t involved with recent prison violence, but are suffering because of it, lawyers say

Mississippi’s death row inmates weren’t involved with recent prison violence, but are suffering because of it, lawyers say

The 39 men on death row are kept apart from the other Unit 29 prisoners and spend as much as 24 hours each day locked up in their single 8×12 cell. The prison corrections team charged with prisoner safety has struggled to maintain control in the face of chaos. Conditions have gotten worse for men on death row. They are not connected to any incidents elsewhere in the prison but remain under lockdown together with the rest of prison, according to attorneys representing them. Alison Steiner, an attorney at the Office of State Public Defender, said that they are hostages just as much as any other activity. As the then-Gov. Phil Bryant, then-Gov. The mealtimes went by without the use of food trays. The attorney stated that when food finally arrived, it was cold and thin: one bologna sandwich and half a plastic cup of Cheerios and milk. Recently, a man said to a lawyer that officers had not allowed him shower since December. Attorneys claim that men hadn’t received any water bottles as of Thursday at noon. Parchman was cut off power by a storm that hit the Delta last weekend. As health inspection reports over the years have shown, toilets stop flushing. This is a common problem in prisons. For men, correctional officers gave them trash bags to cover the toilets. Many men used the bags as a temporary sanitation system and have taken to using food trays or bags to relieve themselves. Attorneys said that some men avoided eating. Grace Fisher, a spokesperson for the Mississippi Department of Corrections declined to comment due to ongoing litigation regarding Unit 29. Jay-Z and Yo Gotti, a music mogul and artist from Memphis, filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of 29 Parchman prisoners. These conditions are common in the prison, according to advocates for prisoners. Family members and organizers from the Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition criticized conditions in Mississippi’s prisons. A letter from multiple civil rights groups asking for an investigation by the Department of Justice last week stated that “the constitutional failures of Mississippi’s prison system aren’t limited to a single problem nor a single facility.” “Rather, they’re widespread and profound, a result of years of neglect combined with severe understaffing,” said Parchman. Similar to other major Mississippi prisons in this regard, Parchman is facing a shortage of correctional officer as their ranks have fallen in recent years. Brenda Scott, president of Mississippi Alliance of State Employees, stated that many of the officers log back-to-back hours. Many advocates claim that Parchman, which was established in the early 1900s as an penal farm modelled after a slave plantation is structurally beyond repair. The Mississippi Department of Corrections acknowledged the prison’s disrepair. In a August 2019 budget letter to legislators, Pelicia Hall wrote that Unit 29, which was originally built in 1980 and renovated by 1996, is now unsafe for staff members and inmates. MDOC transferred 375 prisoners from Unit 29 to a Tutwiler facility. This was after Bryant issued an emergency declaration and the operator signed a 90-day contract. The corrections department raised the issue of where to transport the remaining 625 maximum security prisoners at Unit 29. The new governor. Tate Reeves, the new governor, said to reporters that he was looking at “all options” in the system to house inmates. Reeves appointed Tommy Taylor as interim corrections chief. Taylor is currently mayor of Boyle, and a former chairman of legislative corrections. In recent weeks, lawmakers have closely examined the living conditions at the prison. According to reports, the Department of Justice has launched civil and criminal investigations into the state’s prison systems._x000D