MDOC installs air conditioning in state prisons

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Department of Correction Commissioner Burl Cain said he’s working to install air conditioning units in every state prison.

“When we got Unit 26 air conditioned, the inmates complained because they said it’s too cold. Whoever heard of Parchman being too cold in the summer?” Cain said.

It’s a new and cooler beginning for those serving time in Mississippi state prisons starting at one of the hottest: Parchman.

“Seventy-five percent of its complete, 40% of the population is covered. We thought we’d get it down in the 70s. But we never thought we’d get it to 68 doing it the way we did,” Cain said.

The project has cost $600,000 from MDOC’s budget, more from ARPA funds, and additional money from the Inmate Welfare Fund.

Central and Southern Mississippi correctional facilities are next in line for units.

However, the A.C. installations aren’t just for inmates. Cain said the units will help correctional officers who work in the prisons.

“Everybody knows we need to hire more people and nobody wants to go sit in a prison, inside the building and you know, burn up all day and sitting in one place. And just looking at the inmate and watching now,” Cain explained.

Cain said the concrete cells stay hot during the summer months with little relief in the evenings. He said installing the AC units is a step in the right direction for the Magnolia State, both from a safety and financial standpoint.

“The big picture here that helped us with the Justice Department, because they weren’t sanctioning us for not being air conditioned, they would sanctioning us for being too hot,” Cain explained. “We’ll dodge maybe the Justice Department and save the state of Mississippi a whole lot of money. That’s what our job is to do it right. Save money.”

So, how will this improve the prisons overall?

“It creates less problems for us. We want to have an environment where you can do the time in rehabilitation. We don’t want you to come back to prison. I think we needed to do it for our correctional officer then also for peace and harmony with the inmates in condition to confirm and improve,” Cain said.

He expects that every prison in the state will have running air conditioning units by next summer.

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