MDOC: 13 inmates dead over a month’s time

Updated: Jan. 29, 2020 at 5:59 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It has been exactly one month since the first of 13 Mississippi inmates died in Department of Corrections custody. A majority of those deaths stemming from eruptions of violence.

One day before the latest death inside a Mississippi prison, Governor Tate Reeves ordered the closure of Unit 29 at the Parchman facility following his tour of the embattled facility. The Governor said what he saw was infuriating.

Monday Gov. Tate Reeves used his inaugural State of the State address to reforms at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman including the closure of Unit 29.

“Tate Reeves was lieutenant governor before he was governor and he’s fully aware of what’s going on in the state prisons in Mississippi 10 He can’t say that he’s just now becoming aware,” said Carol Leonard, prison reform activist.

The latest death, 28-year-old Limarion Reaves, happened Tuesday at the Kemper-Neshoba Regional Correctional Facility.

“It’s just too much. I mean, this young man was supposed to be released on the same day he passed away,” said Leonard.

Leonard started Prison Reform Movement in 2003, a grassroots organization advocating for change in prisons across the country.

In the past month nine of the 13 inmates have died at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

“There’s a lot of hesitation and the family members are pretty much terrified. They want their loved ones moved completely out of Parchman,” she said.

Newly appointed interim MDOC commissioner Tommy Taylor said Tuesday following his tour of Parchman with the governor changes are happening inside the notoriously violent unit of the prison.

“Now we are moving forward with the ones that are being housed at Unit 29 in trying to prepare, like I said, a better standard of living place that they can stay with food and water, medical, and what they are supposed to have,” said Taylor.

Taylor confirmed Tuesday all inmates have running water and should have a sufficient amount of food. And he said as of Saturday, most toilets inside Unit 29 were now working.

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