A gang war inside the Mississippi state prison system has led to a statewide lockdown on prisons but it has not kept the inmates from leaking videos of the bloody conflict that so far has claimed at least five lives.
The latest video to surface was recorded by an inmate who is claiming a corrections officer known as Captain King sat in front of a man’s cell watching him die for 45 minutes while holding a shotgun.
“Only thing he’s worried about is contraband, he’s not worried about our lives. He watched this guy die,” the inmate said, knowing he was at risk for recording.
The inmate recording the video believes the life of the inmate could have been saved if Captain King had made the effort.
“He don’t care. The only thing he cares about is a cell phone. That’s the only thing he cares about,” says the inmate.
The video was posted Sunday evening on a Facebook page called Mississippi Hot Topics.
The inmate who died only had a few more months to serve before his release, said the inmate with the camera. Commenters on social media said his name may have been Billy Parker, but Photography is Not a Crime was unable to confirm that.
Former employees of the Mississippi Department of Corrections also took to the comment section defending King’s action.
Former veteran of 15-years, Lieutenant Jennifer White commented stating the officers actions were protocol.
Since news broke out of the riots, inmates have said that they brought in both cell phone jammers as well as having a privately owned Emergency Response Team operate in the facilities.
Carol Leonard of Prison Reform Movement spoke to an inmate that said the cell phone jammers are blocking all but one carrier, but they did not tell her which one.
Numerous inmates have told Leonard that the number of deaths being reported by Mississippi Department of Corrections is incorrect. Over the last few months there has been 15 deaths, according to the inmates.
Leonard stated the following after viewing the video.
“I am not surprised at all. This is the general feeling not only the people inside have, but family as well. Still no answers or updates. South Carolina does the same- they blame the cellphones and never address the real issues; staff brings them in and sells them. It’s smoke and mirrors so they never have to speak on the living conditions as well as the lack of rehabilitation, programs, jobs, food issues and lack of medical care. Focus on contraband cell phones is nothing more than a distraction. We would never know what’s going on inside the prisons. We cannot rely on the department of corrections to be transparent or forthcoming with truth. MDOC and Mississippi government have failed horribly in trying to handle this.”
In the interview Leonard said that out of the dozens of families and inmates that have reached out to her on Twitter and Facebook, not one has gotten a response from governor-elect Tate Reeves.
Reeves last Facebook post regarding this issue was on January 4, at 9:25 AM focusing on two inmates that escaped. One has since been caught. The other is still at large as of this writing.
Mississippi Department of Corrections also took to Facebook with a picture of Commissioner Pelicia Hall assessing the situation with a blank notepad.
According to the Department of Corrections website, in 2018, Commissioner Hall stated:
“We should never let up with our shakedowns, whether they are on a small or large scale.”
It appears that her focus is still on smuggled cell phones and not the safety and well being of the inmates behind her prison walls.
Pinac News spoke to one of the inmates family members, in a phone interview, pictured in our previous article and have learned more information about one of the inmates .
Inmate Jason Gaston in Unit 29 was talking to a family member right before the riot started, as they talked daily. The family member said that it got really loud and Gaston had to end the call. The family member was able to reach back out to the number he last spoke to him and was told by the inmates friends that he was stabbed numerous times. They also told him that they rendered aid to him, not the guards. The family member also told Pinac News that his cellmate was a Vice Lord. Since then, he has not heard from him. The family member attempted to contact the prison but they were of no help.
On January 5, Mississippi Hot Topics uploaded a picture of what appears to be a guard asleep at her desk.
Pinac News received a video as a tip of a shakedown that happened on January 5, where the guards threw all of the inmates personal belongings that contained letters, pictures, food, and hygienic supplies. In the same video, the inmate says that they have been late on giving them food.
Thanks to inmates turning into citizen journalists, the evidence clearly shows that the ones running the prison system in Mississippi prioritize cell phones over the safety of the inmates.