Mississippi Department of Corrections
- 1 History
- 2 Divisions
- 3 Operations
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Facilities
- 6 Prisoner rules
- 7 Fallen officers
- 8 Media campaigns
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
The Jackson prison was destroyed during the Civil War, and the state had no prison. For decades, the state conducted convict leasing, leasing prisoners to third parties for their work, which held custody of the inmates and arranged their board. The state made substantial amounts of money from these arrangements, which created an incentive to have more people arrested and sentenced for minor crimes. Increasing the number of crimes for which persons could be arrested, such as vagrancy, resulted in an increased pool to lease out. After December 31, 1894, prisoners sentenced by the State of Mississippi could no longer be hired or leased by third parties.
After ending the convict leasing system, the State of Mississippi began to acquire property to build its own correctional facilities. The state bought the Rankin Farm in Rankin County, 12 miles (19 km) away from Jackson, in 1895, now the location of Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. Afterward the state purchased the Oakley Farm, located in Hinds County, 25 miles (40 km) from Jackson. The state government purchased land in Sunflower County in January 1901, where it developed the Parchman Farm (now Mississippi State Penitentiary).
The Department of Corrections was established in 1976 to oversee the existing Mississippi state prisons. By the end of the century, the state had one of the largest prison systems in the country.
In the 21st century, the state contracted with private prison management companies, who built and operated prisons across the state. Numerous complaints were made about these by prisoners and their families for high rates of violence and abuse, rampant drugs, lack of medical care and other problems. Class action suits were filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU National Prison Project against two facilities with the most egregious conditions, the former Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility and the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, established for prisoners with serious mental illness. The first case was settled in 2012, ending contracts with GEO Group (which had run both facilities), and requiring the state to set up a facility for youths to be operated according to juvenile justice standards. In addition, the state was prohibited from using solitary confinement for any youthful offender.
The state and other prison operators had difficulty maintaining staffing in prisons because of low wages and high turnover. Many prisons were plagued by violence. By 2011 MDOC operated below capacity due to its efforts to reduce the prison population, such as increased use of house arrest and conditional medical release. As of 2011 the state prisons were below capacity by more than 2,000 spaces. With private prisons included, that was about 4,000 beds below capacity.
- Division of Institutions: Operates prisons
- Agricultural Enterprises: Oversees agricultural operations at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP) and South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI). The majority of MDOC's farming occurs at MSP.
- Division of Classification & Offender Services: Assigns prisoners to security classifications
- Community Corrections Division: Supervises parole and probation
Before going to their assigned facilities and after their transfer from county jails, most prison inmates are sent to the Reception & Classification Center (R&C) in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) in Rankin County to be classified according to behavior level and assessed for treatment. The classification process takes around 30 days.
Most male inmates who are sentenced to MDOC by the courts or who are returned to MDOC as parole violators, probation violators, intensive supervision program (ISP) (house arrest) violators, earned release supervision (ERS) violators, and suspension violators are placed at R&C. All women inmates who are sentenced to MDOC by the courts or who are returned to MDOC as parole violators, probation violators, ISP violators, ERS violators, and suspension violators are placed in 1A or 2B at CMCF. Male death row inmates transferred from county jails immediately are sent to the Mississippi State Penitentiary, the location of the male death row.
Each prisoner receives a security classification. The classifications are:
- Minimum (Community)
- Minimum (Non-Community)
- Death Row
In November 2014, media reports indicated the department housed each prisoner at a cost of about $42.12 per day, one of the lowest costs in the nation.
MDOC contracts with Wexford Health Sources, Inc., headquartered in Green Tree, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. Wexford provides medical services to inmates at state-operated facilities. Each privately operated facility has its own contracted medical services provider.
Wexford was awarded the $95 million MDOC contract in 2006. Previously MDOC contracted with Correctional Medical Services (CMS), headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri, near St. Louis. CMS's contract began on July 1, 2003.
Intensive Supervision Program
MDOC performs executions at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. Male death row offenders are housed in the Mississippi State Penitentiary, while female death row offenders are housed in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.
Conjugal and family visits
The Mississippi state prison system ended conjugal visits in February 2014. The commissioner at the time, Chris Epps, argued that the possibility of creating single parents and the expenses were the reasons why conjugal visits ended.
Previously MDOC contracted prisoners to local and county governments. The prisoners would get reductions in their sentences in exchange for doing work. On April 30, 2015 MDOC stated that it would end this program and save $3.2 million per year.
In 2014, media reports indicated the department housed each prisoner at a cost of about $42.12 per day, one of the lowest costs in the nation. The state spends about three times for each prisoner as it does for each school student. In 2013, the agency budget was about $389 million.
About three-quarters of those released by the department are arrested again in the next five years. About a third are returned to prison within three years.
In November 2014 the federal Department of Justice announced indictments of top Mississippi officials in a widespread corruption case. Newspaper reports have indicated widespread corruption in the department. This includes contraband being smuggled into facilities by the guards, sex between staff and inmates and millions paid in bribes for awarding department contracts. In November 2014, Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps was indicted on 49 charges, as was Cecil B. McCrory, a businessman and former Republican state legislator. Eight other indictments followed, with one waived and more expected. Defendants include ex-Walnut Grove Mayor William Grady Sims who was prosecuted earlier and received 7 months, former Republican legislator Sam Waggoner, former Harrison County Supervisor William Martin who committed suicide, Robert Simmons who received 87 months, former Alcorn County warden and Democratic state Senator Irb Benjamin, Dr. Carl Reddix, Terese Malone, Mark Longoria and Guy "Butch" Evans.
As of September 1, 2008, the Mississippi Department of Corrections has 26,274 inmates in its custody. 17,677 (67.28%) are Black, 8,269 (31.47%) are White, 236 (.09%) are Hispanic, 43 (.16%) are Asian, 27 (.01%) are Native American, and 22 (.06%) have that data unavailable. Of the 23,692 male inmates, 16,366 (69.08%) are Black, 7,030 (29.67%) are White, 222 (.94%) are Hispanic, 35 (.15%) are Asian, 23 (.1%) are Native American, and 16 (.07%) have that data unavailable. Of the 2,582 female inmates, 1,311 (50.77%) are Black, 1,239 (47.99%) are White, 14 (.54%) are Hispanic, 8 (.31%) are Asian, 4 (.15%) are Native American, and 6 (.23%) have that data unavailable.
- Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (Rankin County)
- Mississippi State Penitentiary (Sunflower County, formerly Parchman Farm)
- South Mississippi Correctional Institution (Greene County)
- Bolivar County Correctional Facility
- Carroll-Montgomery County/Regional Correctional Facility
- George-Greene County/Regional Correctional Facility
- Holmes-Humphreys County/Regional Correctional Facility
- Issaquena County Correctional Facility
- Jefferson-Franklin County/Regional Correctional Facility
- Kemper-Neshoba County/Regional Correctional Facility
- Leake County Correctional Facility
- Marion-Walthall County/Regional Correctional Facility
- Stone County Correctional Facility
- Winston-Choctaw County/Regional Correctional Facility
- Delta Correctional Facility (Greenwood) - Formerly Operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) - Facility suspended
- East Mississippi Correctional Facility (unincorporated Lauderdale County) - Operated since 2012 by Management and Training Corporation (MTC), which replaced GEO Group. East Mississippi is the state's main "special needs" (for inmates with disabilities and/or severe mental illness) facility.
- Marshall County Correctional Facility Operated by GEO Group until April 2012, now MTC.
- Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility (in unincorporated Tallahatchie County) - Operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) holding California inmates.
- Walnut Grove Correctional Facility Walnut Grove, (formerly the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility) - Operated by Cornell Corrections 2003-2010, then GEO Group until April 2012. Now operated as an adult facility by MTC under contract to the state. The town of Walnut Grove, Mississippi annexed this property by 2006 and it is owned by a development authority. Payment in lieu of taxes by GEO made up 15% of town budget. Closed 16 September 2016.
- Wilkinson County Correctional Center Operated by CCA through 2012, now by MTC.
Men may have hair that is not more than 3 inches (76 mm) in length. Men may have beards and goatees up to .5 inches (13 mm) in length.
Most prisoner outfits are striped. As of 1997, green stripes indicate lower security prisoners, black stripes indicate prisoners with a level higher than the ones with green stripes, and red stripes indicate high security prisoners.
Since the establishment of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, six officers have died in the line of duty.
The New Jersey Department of Corrections, the state prison system of New Jersey, established the "Be Smart Choose Freedom" television advertisement campaign in 2005. The State of New Jersey produced 30–60 second public service announcements to warn state residents against going to prison. MDOC decided to start its own "Be Smart Choose Freedom" campaign and use the commercials that aired in New Jersey.
- List of law enforcement agencies in Mississippi
- List of United States state correction agencies
- List of U.S. state prisons
- Home page. Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on December 8, 2009. "723 N. President Street Jackson, MS 39202."
- "Article 14 -- No Title": "Convicts Who Are In Demand After Serving Terms." (Direct article link) The New York Times. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
- Cabana, Donald A. "The History of Capital Punishment in Mississippi: An Overview." Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
- Slavery by Any Other Name
- "Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman) Photo Collections." Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
- Oshinsky, David M.: Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice. Free Press, 1997. p. 249.
- Crisp, Elizabeth. "Early release strategies produce empty prison beds." The Clarion-Ledger. October 1, 2011. Retrieved on October 6, 2011.
- "Division of Institutions." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
- "Agricultural Enterprises." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Updated on February 25, 2010. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
- "Division of Classification & Offender Services." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on October 19, 2010.
- "Community Corrections Division." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Updated on February 25, 2010. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
- "What is Reception & Classification (R&C)?" Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- "Chapter I." Inmate Handbook. Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on July 21, 2010.
- "Where do new inmates go when first moved from the local county jail to MDOC custody?," Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- Timothy Williams, "Chief Quits as Mississippi Prisons Face Inquiry"], New York Times, 7 November 2014
- "MDOC Healthcare Services." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on July 24, 2010.
- "Contact Us." Wexford Health Sources. Retrieved on August 14, 2010. "Wexford Health Sources, Inc. 425 Holiday Drive Foster Plaza Two Pittsburgh, PA 15220."
- Twedt, Steve. "Wexford Health works with inmates." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sunday April 12, 2009. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
- "Article: Briefs: Comcast eyeing Findlay site for office space." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. July 1, 2006. Retrieved on August 14, 2010. "Wexford Health Sources Inc of Green Tree has been awarded a $95 million three year contract to provide healthcare services to more than 14000 Mississippi..."
- "Medical Services." Mississippi Department of Corrections. December 21, 2003. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
- Jonsson, Greg. Complaints swirl around prison care Creve Coeur-based firm faces inquiries and suits." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 7, 2007. A4. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
- "Contact CMS - General Inquiry." Correctional Medical Services. Retrieved on August 14, 2010. "Correctional Medical Services, Inc. 12647 Olive Blvd. Saint Louis, Missouri 63141 USA."
- "Critics: Death row is causing insanity." Associated Press at Gainesville Sun. April 25, 2003. 2A. Retrieved from Google News Page 25 of 93 on August 14, 2010.
- "Intensive Supervision Program." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on November 1, 2010.
- "Death Row." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- "Division of Institutions State Prisons." Mississippi Department of Corrections. April 21, 2010. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- Sanburn, Josh. "Mississippi Ending Conjugal Visits for Prisoners." TIME. January 13, 2014. Retrieved on April 19, 2014.
- Blinder, Alan. "Mississippi Cuts Work Program for Prisoners" (Archive). The New York Times. June 3, 2015. Retrieved on June 5, 2015.
- Chief Quits as Mississippi Prisons Dace Inquiry; by Timothy Williams, 7 November 2014, New York Times
- Mississippi 'addicted to incarceration'; Jerry Mitchell, 25 October 2014, The Clarion-Ledger
- "MDOC official: Corruption "deep and wide"" (Archive); Jerry Mitchell, 6 November 2014, The Clarion-Ledger
- "Fact Sheet." Mississippi Department of Corrections. 2/3. Updated on September 1, 2008. Retrieved on July 24, 2010.
- "Private Prisons." (Archive) Mississippi Department of Corrections. Updated October 18, 2012. Retrieved on October 23, 2012.
- "042.jpg." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on September 18, 2010.
- "CHAPTER VI RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND REGULATIONS." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 13, 2010.
- "A recession-proof industry." The Economist. November 13, 1997. Retrieved on March 1, 2011.
- "Chapter VII." Inmate Handbook. Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
- Straziuso, Jason. "Miss. prepares chamber for 1st execution since '89." The Advocate. July 14, 2002. News 10B. Retrieved on August 13, 2010. "The execution chamber is lodged in the back of Unit 17 on the Parchman campus. The unit once housed all death row inmates, but its 56 beds are no longer"
- "Miss. prepares chamber for 1st execution since '89." The Advocate. July 14, 2002. Retrieved on June 4, 2011. "He will wear the solid red jumpsuit the Mississippi Department of Corrections assigns to all death row inmates."
- The Officer Down Memorial Page
- Fedkenheuer, Deirdre. "Be Smart—Choose Freedom: New Jersey unveils its crime prevention campaign." Corrections Today. April 2005. 1. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
- "Be Smart. Choose Freedom." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.