PARCHMAN, MS (WLOX) - Under "Operation Zero Tolerance," 2017 became the Year of the Shakedown for Mississippi prisons. And Commissioner Pelicia Hall said the major searches will continue in 2018.
"My administration started these major shakedowns in March as a way to decrease the amount of contraband inside our facilities for the safety of our staff and inmates," Commissioner Hall said. "The amount and types of items found in these last nine months show we must stay on top of keeping these illegal items out of the hands of inmates."
The last shakedown of the year happened Thursday at Parchman's Unit 29, the prison's largest unit with 1,418 inmates, including those on death row and with behavioral problems. Staff from all three prisons and Probation and Parole agents, along with K-9 officers, searched Unit 29 A-L building for several hours.
The seized contraband included 68 cellphones, 81 cellphone charges, 15 cellphone batteries, 79 homemade weapons, 104 packs of marijuana, 47 packs of methamphetamine, 30 packs of tobacco, 21 packs of spice, 45 cigars, 38 cigarette lighters, 12 bottles of tattoo ink, two tattoo guns, 51 packs of Top paper, six homemade pipes, 16 Sim cards, 14 packs of unmarked pills, three pairs of digital scales, a remote control, and a host of other assorted items.
Commissioner Hall said her administration is aggressively pursuing leads indicating how the contraband items are getting behind prison walls, and will refer the cases to respective district attorneys for prosecution.