Since the lockdown being lifted, prisoners are continuing again being citizen journalists reporting on social media, from within the walls, updating their loved ones.
Prisoners Take to Facebook After Lockdown Removed
Mississippi Department of Corrections advised on January 7, that lockdown on 11 of the correctional facilities has been lifted.
“Movement is no longer restricted for the regional correctional facilities, except for four. The three state prisons and three private prisons remain on lockdown as well as Chickasaw County Correctional Facility, Yazoo County Correctional Facility, Bolivar County Correctional Facility, and Alcorn County Correctional Facility. The lockdown also no longer applies to the community work centers and the restitution centers.”
Since the lockdown has been removed, prisoners are reaching out to their families to give updates on a shared cell phone.
A video was uploaded on January 8 of a woman holding a cell phone talking to a prisoner.
The prisoner was reporting from building 29b and he told her that buildings 29C through 29F were transported to Unit 32.
Unit 32 was condemned after a lawsuit in 2010 shows that it was unsafe due to contamination, mold, and the amount of deaths that occurred.
The prisoner told her that they are planning on moving his area, but did not tell them where they were going to be relocated to.
During the conversation it was discovered that the state troopers that are watching the prisoners are assaulting them.
“Before I even got the chance to talk to you, you know, your cellmate wife had text me and said that y’all was getting beat individually and she said white officers. She didn’t know anything about that one black officer that told the white officer that it was enough to be beating you. To let him check you.”
Half way through the video the prisoner said:
“They still aint come and give anybody medical. They still aint come and give anybody medical. There’s guys that still got injury wounds, head bleeding, lip bleeding, face bleeding, all of that that are still over here in the zone. The nurse still aint brought them no medicine. They still have wounds. They trying to hide the fact that these state troopers beat us all up.”
He continues to say that the state troopers are refusing medical attention so their wounds do not go on record.
“They trying to hide the fact that they beat us all up. They don’t want us to go to medical. We can’t get no medical record that they beat us up for no reason.”
The woman tells him that the news and governor are not telling the truth about the situation, so everything can calm down.
“Yea, they they lying,” the prisoner responds.
The prisoner tells the woman recording that there is 3,000 trays on the floor with old fish and and beans all over. He also tells her that they are dealing with flies and maggots everywhere.
He also tells her that his unit had to wait nine days stuck in their cell without a shower.
The video ends with the prisoner confirming once more that no one was moved from 29b.
Photography is Not a Crime spoke to Carol Leonard of the Prison Reform Movement and was able to confirm with her that many of her sources stated the state troopers are assaulting prisoners in Units 29b and Unit 32.
On January 8, Leonard took to Twitter showing screenshots of a conversation she had with a prisoners loved one, Charlotte, talking to her. Charlotte’s spouse has been in Parchman for 21 years.
Charlotte told her that there is not enough people watching the prisoners and therefore are bringing in officers to help assist, according to the screenshots.
Charlotte told Leonard that she overheard an officer telling prisoners:
“Ya mother fuckers are’nt anything, you are like the dirt I walk on.”
The state troopers are attempting to break the prisoners, according to the screenshots.
“My spouse called and said don’t put money on phone wall or canteen. He said he cannot do this anymore. He gives up.”
Charlotte believes that he is so broken to the point he would attempt being shot to be put out of the misery that Mississippi Department of Corrections created.
Leonard confirmed later in the evening that out of state assistance is going to be assisting.
In our interview with Leonard, Pinac News asked for clarification on her post about out of state assistance.
She advised that Mississippi Department of Corrections employees stopped showing up to work because they believe it is to dangerous and are in fear of their safety. She went on to say that the employees were given around two weeks off and having extensive background checks done on them.
“At this point, the state has no choice. MDOC employees, who are mostly women, were not going to work. Now I hear they were given almost 2 weeks off and extreme background checks are being done. I would think for this type of job, that would be one of the first things done before being allowed in a prison.”
Sixth Prisoner Dead
On January 8, Parchman prisoner A.D. Mills,42, was pronounced dead Wednesday at 12:41 a.m., the day after the Southern Poverty Law Center called for the Department of Justice to step in and investigate Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith investigated the death and labeled it his death as a natural cause due to health conditions.
Though Meredith advised it was natural, it has been seen in the past that natural causes were started due to violence from officers. For example, NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo used an illegal chokehold on Eric Garner, which set off a heart attack, therefor it was labeled of natural cause.
With the amount of violence, loss of possessions, and moving from unit to unit, it will never be known if his health conditions worsened due to the mistreatment and horrible living conditions.
Request for Department of Justice to Step In
On January 7, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a copy of a letter requesting for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Corrections to step in and investigation the violation the constitutional rights of the approximately 20,000 men and women within the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
The letter advises the Department of Justice of the the outbreak of violence, the deaths of five men, escapes, and dozens of injuries as evidence that Mississippi Department of Corrections has over incarcerated and understaffed all of their prisons for years.
“More lives will be lost absent immediate intervention and swift, safe, and sensible decarceration,” said Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Immediate federal intervention is necessary to protect the lives of the men and women incarcerated in Mississippi’s prison system and those who work there.”
“The horrific violence that occurred last week was preventable had Mississippi taken action to reduce its prison population to an appropriate size. Now lives have been lost, the system is in chaos, and parents are living in terror waiting to hear whether their incarcerated children are among the dozens who have been injured,” according to Corey Wiggins, executive director of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP.
The letter is signed by U.S. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson; the Southern Poverty Law Center; MacArthur Justice Center; Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP; Disability Rights Mississippi; Black With No Chaser; Mississippi Center for Justice; Rech Foundation; Clergy for Prison Reform; ACLU of Mississippi; People’s Advocacy Institute; and MS Poor People’s Campaign.
If the Department of Justice agrees to look into the Department of Corrections, it would not be the first time a federal agency looked into them.
A Department of Corrections officer in Mississippi was sentenced in 2019 after an investigation by the Department of Justice found Reginald Laterry Brown guilty of violating the civil rights of a prisoner housed at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. Brown was sentenced to five years.
An investigation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation happened in 2018 after 15 prisoners died in one month. Commissioner Pelicia E. Hall believed that most of the deaths were due to either cancer or pre-existing health conditions. One of the prisoners died in prison and nine died at a hospital. It is unknown where the other five prisoners died, according to Fox6Now.
“As of September 11, 2018, 59 deaths had been reported of inmates incarcerated by MDOC this year. In August alone 16 deaths were reported. In 2017 there were 78 deaths, 2016 – 74, 2015- 47, 2014 – 71 and 2013 – 53,” according to an interview Commissioner Hall had with YallPolitics.
Feces Water Overflowing
A prisoner, within the Mississippi Department of Corrections, also took to social media claiming an officer was ignoring his complaint of a toilet overflowing with feces on the floor due to being in the middle of a head count. The video has been shortened for the prisoners protection as personal information was included in the original video.
Another inmate uploads a video from within Mississippi Department of Corrections showing how close the water with feces is to his mat.
“Like straight up, I really don’t know what to do. This is an outrage.”
The prisoner asks the prisoner next to him through the wall if their cell is flooded too. The prisoner confirms and tells him that “it smells like shit.”
Videos Continue to Surface
On January 7, activists took to social media with a video slideshow of all the healthcode violations Parchman received in 2019. During the investigations, the Health Department found 39 pages worth of violations. Some of those violations were exposed in May 2019 via a police accountability blog called America’s Police Problem.
Another video surfaced from a prisoner, within the Mississippi Department of Corrections, showing both his mattress and sheets had black mold on them.
A Parchman prisoner uploaded a video to social media showing his food was served with a roach in it. He says he refuses to eat the vegetables served as it is a reoccurring thing.
Three videos surfaced this week depicting horrible water conditions. The prisoners claim that the water is not only contaminated but they believe the rise of prisoners getting cancer is due to the water. Pinac News has combined the three videos.
A Greene County prisoner uploaded a video showing how the dishes get cleaned. He says that the water they use is cold water. He sprays the tray and then puts it up without using anything to sanitize it.
Another video surfaced of a rat within one of the prisons attempting to escape out a hole that was covered up with cardboard.
A video surfaced of prisoners in Parchman setting a fire to get the guards attention that they have not eaten. The video was uploaded by Discuss Global. Pinac News reached out to Discuss Global to obtain a date of when the fire happened. It is believed to have happened in December.
Discuss Global also uploaded a video showing prisoners on the ground with puke hanging out of their mouth. Discuss Global said that the lack of food and nutrition is making the prisoners sick
Knowledge of Tensions Building
Ann Johnson knew a head of time from her brother, who is a prisoner at Mississippi Department of Corrections, that the tensions were rising and of officers assisting inmate unlocking cells, according to WLBT.
Johnson went down to the Department of Corrections Headquarters three times to alert them. After no assistance, she decided to create a paper trail. Emails dating back to December 20th show chaos, guards giving keys to inmates and claims of corruption.
Johnson also claims that the prisoner received a broken hand since the riot, hasn’t eaten and has taken baths with the toilet water as he fears leaving his cell.
One of our previous sources, Mississippi Hot Topics, is no longer up. It is believed to be an act of Facebook censorship as many of the videos and pictures keep disappearing and reappearing.
Family members have voiced their concerns that even with the 11 facilities being lifted, since they all use the same phone system, some are still unable to connect with their loved ones the proper way.