/State prisons challenged by tight budget

State prisons challenged by tight budget

Fisher took over state prisons after Chris Epps was forced to resign amid scandal. He told a special committee on state spending that he intends to ask the Legislature next year for level funding. Prisons face many challenges including staff shortages, increasing costs of health care, and the high prevalence of mental illnesses among inmates. Fisher claims that 400 of the department’s 20,000 inmates are older than 65. This includes Edgar Ray Killen (91), who is currently serving a 60 year sentence for the 1964 murders of three Neshoba County civil rights workers. He also stated that at least 17 per cent of prisoners self-identify with a mental illness, which makes prisons de facto mental hospital. Fisher stated that it was a serious problem and made comments to the panel. Fisher recently tried to reduce expenses. In a cost-saving measure, Fisher announced that the agency would release 600 prisoners from regional jails earlier this year. The agency announced in June that it would close Walnut Grove Correctional Center in Leake County. Fisher stated that Walnut Grove, which was privately owned, was the most costly prison to operate. The state still pays debt service on Walnut Grove and other prison buildings. He said that the state continues to pay approximately $15 million per year in debt service, at least until 2028. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think. Republish this Story