Mississippi State Penitentiary

Mississippi executes man for rape, murder of teen girl

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www.wxxv25.com – WXXV Staff – 2022-12-15 14:35:30

Thomas Edwin Loden Jr
FILE – This May 25, 2022, photo released by the Mississippi Department of Corrections shows Edwin Loden Jr., who is set to receive a lethal injection at the Mississippi Penitentiary in Parchman, Miss., on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. (Mississippi Department of Corrections via AP, File)

By MICHAEL GOLDBERG
Associated Press/Report for America

PARCHMAN, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi man has been put to by lethal injection for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl more than two decades ago.

Officials say 58-year-old Thomas Edwin Loden Jr. was pronounced dead at…

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Mississippi set to execute man for killing 16-year-old girl

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www.wxxv25.com – WXXV Staff – 2022-12-14 14:44:31

Thomas Edwin Loden Jr
FILE – This May 25, 2022, photo released by the Mississippi Department of Corrections shows Edwin Loden Jr., who is set to receive a lethal injection at the in Parchman, Miss., on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. (Mississippi Department of Corrections via AP, File)

By MICHAEL GOLDBERG
Associated Press/Report for America

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi man who pleaded guilty to raping and killing a 16-year-old girl is to be put to .

He would become the second inmate executed in Mississippi in 10 years. Fifty-eight-year-old…

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Embattled DA in Curtis Flowers case headed to runoff in circuit judge race

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Embattled DA in Curtis Flowers case headed to runoff in circuit judge race

Longtime prosecutor Doug Evans, known for trying Curtis Flowers six times for murder with convictions that were later overturned, is headed for a Nov. 29 runoff for a circuit court judge seat.

Evans earned the second-most votes Tuesday in five-person election and will face top vote-getter Winona Municipal Court Judge Alan “Devo” Lancaster because neither candidate garnered 50% of the vote.

The 5th Circuit Court district includes Attala, Carroll, Choctaw, Montgomery, Grenada, Webster and Winston counties. The winner will succeed Judge George Mitchell, who died in April.

As a circuit court judge, Evans could hear criminal cases in the same district where the said he prevented Black people from serving as jurors, including in Flowers’ case. 

Evans, who has been the district attorney of the district for over 30 years, first tried Flowers in 1997 for the killings of four people at the Tardy Furniture store in Winona. 

Evans secured four penalty convictions for Flowers, but those were overturned by and federal courts. In two trials, a jury didn’t reach a unanimous verdict. 

READ MORE: Curtis Flowers files federal lawsuit against Mississippi DA Doug Evans for misconduct in wrongful prosecution

The U.S Supreme Court overturned Flowers’ conviction in 2019, ruling Evans barred Black jurors in the case. 

Evans recused himself after the , which represented Flowers, asked for him to be from the case. Lynn Fitch was appointed as the lead prosecutor.

In September 2020, Fitch’s office dropped charges against Flowers after he spent 23 years in prison, most of it on death row at the at Parchman. 

In 2021, Flowers sued Evans in federal court for misconduct, which Evans has denied. U.S. District Court Judge Neal Biggers Jr. ordered the case stayed until May 1, 2023.

Other candidates in the 5th District Circuit Court race were Ackerman attorney Kasey Burney Young, Kosciusko attorney Doug Crosby and Louisville attorney Zachary Madison. 

Lancaster is a partner at the Lancaster Taylor Law Firm in Winona. He has been a municipal judge in Winona since 2010 and attorney for Montgomery County Economic Development since 1986. 

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Frederick Bell: Parole Board pulls plug on release

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Outcry prompts Parole Board to pull plug on releasing convicted killer

A Mississippi man serving life for murder will not be paroled, the Parole Board decided Wednesday, reversing a previous decision to free him after more than 30 years in prison. 

Frederick Bell was convicted of capital murder for the May 1991 shooting of 21-year-old Robert “Bert” Bell (no relation) during a store robbery in Grenada County. 

Gene Bell, Bert’s younger brother, told Mississippi Today that Frederick Bell won’t be reconsidered for parole for two years. Frederick Bell had been set to be released at the end of September. 

He had originally received a death sentence, but several court rulings in the past decade paved the way for him to be resentenced and become eligible for parole. Frederick Bell was resentenced to life without parole when the found he was mentally disabled and then life with possibility of parole. 

One reason Bell was denied parole is because of how his pending release was advertised to the public. Sen. Angela Burks Hill, R-, had questioned whether the Parole Board followed state law, which says notification must go in a newspaper published or circulated in the county where the was committed. 

In a Monday interview with Supertalk Radio, Gene Bell said the notice of Frederick Bell’s release was advertised in the rather than the local paper, the Grenada Star. 

In July, the Parole Board sent a letter to Gene Bell about its decision to parole Frederick Bell because members found he had been rehabilitated. 

In response to the board’s actions, Bert Bell’s family members, Grenada community members, lawmakers and law enforcement groups around the state signed a petition and wrote letters to the Parole Board and Gov. Tate Reeves to ask that Frederick Bell’s parole be denied. 

Bell remains at the at Parchman, according to prison records. 

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Mississippi man convicted of murder and previously sentenced to death will now be paroled

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Mississippi man convicted of murder and previously sentenced to death will now be paroled

Those convicted of murder are not eligible for parole in Mississippi, but court rulings paved the way for a man previously sentenced to to receive parole and be for release.

Frederick Bell had been serving a sentence at the at Parchman for the May 1991 shooting of 21-year-old Robert “Bert” Bell (no relation) during a robbery in Grenada County. 

Capital murder typically carries the death penalty. But after years of appeals and filing for post-conviction relief, Frederick Bell was resentenced to life without parole and then life with the possibility of parole. He was approved for release by the Parole Board in August and is set to leave prison as early as Monday. 

Family members of Bert Bell have been attending Parole Board meetings since 2015 and thought Frederick Bell wouldn’t be paroled, but last month Gene Bell, Bert’s younger brother, received a letter saying Frederick Bell’s parole had been approved, according to a copy shared with Mississippi Today. 

The family wants the Parole Board to reconsider. More than 50 community members from Grenada County and beyond have signed a petition addressed to Gov. Tate Reeves asking him to reverse the board’s decision. State law enforcement groups and residents have written to Parole Board Chair Jeffery Belk and board members. Several lawmakers have also spoken about Frederick Bell’s parole. 

“We should never parole a violent criminal,” Gene Bell wrote in a Thursday email to Mississippi Today. “That is not the way to reduce the population in the penal system and is certainly not the way to protect every law-abiding citizen in regards to our safety.”

Belk wrote to Gene Bell about the board’s decision to parole Frederick Bell, saying he understood it would be a disappointment to the family. 

In a previous interview with Mississippi Today, Belk said when considering parole, the board looks at a range of available information, including input from victims and their families and the person’s record while incarcerated, to make a decision. 

“However, in our opinion Bell has been rehabilitated and at this point we feel that parole supervision will be more beneficial than further incarceration,” Belk’s letter states. 

Belk and a spokesperson for the Mississippi Department of Corrections did not respond to a request for comment about Bell’s parole.

Bert Bell at his high school graduation.

On May 6, 1991, then-19-year-old Frederick Bell and a group of men went into Sparks Stop ‘N Go in Grenada County where 21-year-old Bert Bell was working. They bought chips and beer and went outside to eat, according to court records. 

Frederick Bell wanted to go to Memphis and said he needed money so he decided to rob the store, according to court records. He went back inside with one of the group members, Anthony Doss. Gunshots rang out from the store, and Bert Bell was shot nine times and killed. 

Later that day, Frederick Bell and three of the men from the group drove to Memphis, where Bell shot and killed another man, 20-year-old Tommy White. 

In 1993, the Grenada County Circuit Court convicted Frederick Bell and Doss for the killing of Bert Bell. A jury found Frederick Bell killed the store clerk, contemplated using lethal force during the robbery and intended to kill Bert Bell, which factored into its decision to impose the death penalty, according to court records.

Before the 1993 trial, Frederick Bell and another man from the group, Frank Coffey, were charged for the Memphis shooting and pleaded guilty, according to court records.

For years Frederick Bell sought to appeal his Mississippi conviction, including an unsuccessful direct appeal with the state Supreme Court in 1998, multiple filings for post-conviction relief and denied requests for the to take up his case. 

Gene Bell said it is a shame for anyone convicted of a violent to continue to appeal because victims and their families don’t get an opportunity to appeal any decisions made by the courts. 

In 2011, the state Supreme Court found Frederick Bell was entitled to an evidentiary hearing to determine whether he was mentally disabled. This was based on a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found it was cruel and unusual to execute mentally disabled people.

Doctors at the Mississippi State Hospital evaluated Frederick Bell and determined he was mentally disabled.

As a result, in 2013 the Grenada County Circuit Court sentenced Bell to life without parole. He appealed, and in 2015 the State Supreme Court voted 5-4 in his favor. On June 5, 2015, the Grenada County Circuit Court sentenced him to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. 

Gene Bell said his family was devastated to learn his brother’s killer was eligible for parole. He began attending Parole Board hearings in 2015 to speak against Frederick Bell’s release. 

“Do I like doing this? No,” Gene Bell said. “But it’s my duty. It’s my duty for my family and for the law abiding citizens of the great state of Mississippi.”

The family’s main concern is about public safety. Gene Bell said people shouldn’t have to fear the system has failed them by allowing someone who has committed violent crimes out of prison.

A person granted parole will serve the remainder of their sentence under supervision. They are required to report to a parole officer and follow rules laid out by the Mississippi Department of Corrections. 

Gene Bell said the current Parole Board did not indicate it would parole Frederick Bell. 

Rather, the board told him it would extend the time between Frederick Bell’s hearings from one year to up to five years. This would be done out of consideration for Bert Bell’s family. 

“(T)his was too brutal of a case for me and family to have to endure such a horrible date in history this often,” Gene Bell said. 

He doesn’t understand what changed this summer between the July meeting that felt positive and the August one when the board granted Frederick Bell parole. 

The Rev. C.J. Rhodes of Mount Helm Baptist Church in Jackson is President of Clergy for Prison Reform, which is focused on criminal justice issues including parole. 

Parole can be complicated and should be viewed on a case-by-case basis, he said. It should also consider those affected, including victims, their families, the incarcerated people and their families and community. 

The Christian faith recognizes redemption and how incarcerated people can be rehabilitated and demonstrate that after prison. 

“This becomes a test case if we want to apply that particular theology,” Rhodes said. 

The group wants to reimagine corrections in a way that doesn’t emphasize imprisoning people, he said. Rhodes said there is an opportunity to make victims and victimizers whole again, and redemption and rehabilitation shouldn’t be lost in conversation about criminal justice reform

Monday is Frederick Bell’s expected release date. Multiple efforts to reach an attorney for Frederick Bell were not successful. 

Sen. Angela Burks Hill (R-) said in an interview with Supertalk Radio that his release from prison is likely to be delayed because the Parole Board did not follow a state law that requires public notification in a newspaper in the county where the crime was committed.  

Gene Bell remembers his brother as a happy-go lucky person who enjoyed the outdoors and loved his family and friends. 

“We miss Bert tremendously,” Gene Bell said. “We often wonder what he would have become in life.  What would his brother- and sister- in-law think about him and what would his nieces and nephews think about him? How would we all interact as family?”

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Burl Cain wants incarcerated people to construct buildings at Parchman

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Prisons chief wants incarcerated people to construct buildings at Parchman

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain plans to ask the to pass a bill to allow incarcerated people to construct buildings as a form of job training, a tie in with the department’s focus on reentry.

Under law, the Department of Administration and Finance oversees construction, repairs, additions and demolition for all state buildings. The department also reviews and pre-approves all architectural and engineering service contracts for building projects. 

Cain said licensed contractors are required to build any state building, which is why he sees a need for a change in state law. 

“It takes too long and we need to move faster,” he told Mississippi Today about the current process. “Those are the things we can hone our own skills on and have the inmates build the buildings themselves.”

Cain envisions incarcerated people constructing one-story buildings that are no more than 5,000 square feet to house prison programs such as a welding school, carpentry program or a commercial truck driving simulator. 

The buildings would be at the at Parchman, which has the most space to the state’s other prisons. A certified contractor, electrician, roofer and others involved would supervise incarcerated people during construction, he said. 

“You’re teaching an electrician how to be an electrician,” Cain said. “You’re teaching a carpenter how to frame a building. You put a roof on a building, you’re teaching an inmate how to be a roofer.”

The commissioner also believes allowing incarcerated people to construct buildings for prison training programs could help save taxpayer money. That is especially true as construction-related costs remain high, he said. 

A Department of Administration and Finance spokesperson declined to comment. 

During a previous legislative session, Cain said he tried to get a law passed to allow incarcerated people to construct buildings, but he said the timing didn’t work out and the effort didn’t have momentum. 

Now that he has reentry, job training and other programs in place, Cain said he has a way to show the Legislature that it should invest in more of his efforts. 

READ MORE: After 121 scalding Mississippi summers, Parchman prison is getting air conditioning

Since becoming commissioner in 2020, Cain has focused on rehabilitation and reentry as a way to prevent people from returning to prison. Skilled jobs training has been part of those efforts. 

Last year, MDOC debuted a mobile welding training center. It started with a group of women at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl and moved to the Correctional Institution in Leakesville.

Earlier this year, MDOC accepted a donated tractor trailer from Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey and District Attorney Bubba Bramlett that was seized during a drug transportation arrest on Interstate 20. The vehicle was turned into a simulator to train incarcerated people for careers in commercial truck driving. 

“Now the trend is reentry, and reentry only happens when you send them out with a skill so he can get a job,” Cain said.

Businesses may not want to hire a formerly incarcerated person to sweep the floor, but he said they may be more inclined to if they are certified and have a skill such as welding, truck driving or roofing. 

More than 9,000 people leave the Missisisppi prison system each year, according to a 2021 report by the Corrections and Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force, which Cain is a member of. 

“Let me have the freedom to teach them how to build those buildings and pour the concrete and let them do that and to prove themselves,” Cain said. 

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Mississippi now leads the world in mass incarceration

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Mississippi now leads the world in mass incarceration

Mississippi is now the world’s leader in putting people behind bars — more inmates per capita than any or nation, including China, Russia and Iran, according to the World Population Review. 

“Is there a political price to be paid for foolishly sticking with a failed system that’s made us the world capital of mass incarceration?” asked Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law. “What’s it going to take for to realize that the mass incarceration we have carried out for decades has made us less safe, rather than safer?” 

Across the U.S., the number of those in prison in the U.S. is 16% lower today than before the pandemic, according to the Vera Institute of Justice, but Mississippi’s rate is skyrocketing, rising more than 1,500 in less than six months. That population now exceeds 18,000 — the highest rate since April 2020

“We have perfected throwing people away for long periods of time,” Johnson said, “and yet after decades and decades of this approach, Mississippians are more fearful about violent than any time I remember.” 

In September 2013, Mississippi had as many as 22,490 inmates behind bars. In the years since, reforms and an aggressive Parole Board, headed by a veteran law enforcement officer, reduced the number of inmates to the lowest level in two decades. On Feb. 7, that population fell to 16,499, according to MDOC. 

But with Gov. Tate Reeves’ new board chairman, a former Chevron executive he put in charge in January, that trend has reversed itself. 

On Aug. 1, the prison population hit a high of 18,080

If this current trend continues, Mississippi would top 19,000 inmates before the end of the year and would surpass 22,000 inmates before the end of 2023. 

That additional prison population would cost taxpayers more than $100 million a year, based on the $53.72 per-day cost computed by the state’s legislative watchdog. 

“We’re stuck in this futile cycle of throwing more money at prisons,” Johnson said. “Even with the Department of Justice breathing down our necks, we can’t handle the people we have.” 

The Justice Department began investigating the in Parchman in 2020 after MCIR and ProPublica reported on the increases in grisly violence, gang control and subhuman living conditions. In April, the department reported that the prison’s conditions violate the Constitution. 

The department is investigating other prisons as well. 

Promises, Promises in Prison Reform 

When Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, signed House Bill 585 into law in 2014, the measure drew widespread praise from conservatives and liberals alike because it promised to reduce the prison population, save millions —  $266  million, to be exact — and reinvest some of the money into programs for offenders

Instead, all of those savings went back into the state’s coffers, helping to pay for huge phased-in corporate tax cuts enacted in 2016, because the state was struggling to meet revenue estimates. 

Last year, Reeves signed legislation aimed at expanding parole eligibility to 3,000 more inmates, believing it could be a “net positive for Mississippi.” He later bragged about the significant reduction in inmates at Parchman. 

“I believe in second chances,” he said in an April 22, 2022, tweet. “I trust my Parole Board appointees to make wise decisions.” 

But since his appointment of a new chairman in 2022, the numbers of paroles have declined. 

When Steven Pickett chaired the board between 2013 and 2021, he said about six of every 10 inmates who before the Parole Board earned their release. The board typically saw about 5,000 inmates a year. 

Now the board is rejecting far more requests. So far this year, about three-fourths of inmates who have appeared before the board have been rejected for parole. 

At the same time Mississippi is filling up its prisons, the state is lagging in programs that would help ensure that inmates don’t return. 

“The Mississippi Department of Corrections can’t have a rodeo or enough GED classes, because we don’t have the staffing,” Johnson said. “We probably can’t support more than about 12,000 incarcerated, but we’ve got 18,000.” 

Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain convinced state lawmakers to raise salaries of correctional officers in the 2022 legislative session. 

While hiring officers has proved a struggle, he said Tuesday, “We’re gaining ground. We’re going to show the Justice Department we’re moving along.” 

By fall, he hopes to have 80 schools for inmates to gain certification in engine repair, plumbing, welding, carpentry and other fields. 

By doing this, “we’ll reduce recidivism, and we’ll reduce violence,” he said. “About half of the 4,400 inmates we release each year will have a skill or trade.” 

He ran a similar program at the Louisiana State Penitentiary and saw the recidivism rate drop to less than 10%. 

He called Mississippi’s program “way more intense. We’re meeting a need.” 

Rather than hiring teachers on the outside, he’s using inmates certified in these fields to teach, he said. 

He praised the Parole Board. “We don’t want gangsters getting out,” he said. 

With this new training program for inmates, “we’re going to turn the curve,” he said. “We already have people from Alabama coming to see how we do things.” 

Alternatives to Prison Part of the Solution 

Cain has also started an alcohol and drug program at the once-shuttered Walnut Grove Correctional Facility that houses 32 inmates in a 90-day addiction program. 

Pickett said such programs play an important role in treatment for Mississippi inmates, three-fourths of whom are battling alcohol or drug problems or both. 

For example, he said, if a parolee is caught with meth and has failed to report to his parole officer for two months, what should the Parole Board do? 

Send him back to prison? Or to treatment? 

Locking him up in prison for a year won’t cure his addiction, Pickett said. “All we are doing is putting him in a place that’s dangerous. Meth is just as prolific in prison as it is on the streets. It’s very, very sad.” 

The other option would be the Technical Violation Center. 

State Public Defender Andre de Gruy said the state needs to do a better job of utilizing this center. 

“Now that we’re number one in mass incarceration,” Johnson said, “we ought to stop and take a collective timeout and have a long conversation about whether we’re satisfied and whether we’ve had a good return on the billions we’ve invested. 

“Are we locking up more people because there’s something about Mississippians that make them morally deficient or more likely to commit crime? Or is there something more to this story?” 

Email Jerry.Mitchell@MississippiCIR.org. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 

This report was produced in partnership with the Community Foundation for Mississippi’s local collaborative, which is independently funded in part by Microsoft Corp. The collaborative includes the Clarion Ledger, the Jackson Advocate, Jackson State University, Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, Mississippi Public Broadcasting and Mississippi Today. We’re also making it available to the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting through a Mississippi Poverty Reporting Collective funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and managed by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. 

Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit news organization that is exposing wrongdoing, educating and empowering Mississippians, and raising up the next generation of investigative reporters. Sign up for our newsletter. 

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

After 121 summers, Parchman prison is getting A/C

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After 121 scalding Mississippi summers, Parchman prison is getting air conditioning

Editor’s note: This story contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 988. Local resources include the Mississippi Department of Mental Health DMH Helpline at 1-877-210-8513.

After 121 summers in the Mississippi Delta, the ’s oldest and largest prison is getting air conditioning.

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said 48 air conditioning units have been installed at the at Parchman buildings so far, covering 40% of the prison population. 

The process is expected to be complete in the spring, and then air conditioning will be installed at the state’s other prisons, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and Southern Mississippi Correctional Institution.

“It feels good to get it done,” Cain said in an interview with Mississippi Today. “It’s just the time to do it.” 

Cell blocks at Parchman, located in the scalding fields of the Delta, are made out of concrete. A U.S. Department of Justice report about poor conditions at Parchman said temperatures inside the prison sometimes reach up to 145 degrees. With air conditioning, Cain said, the goal is to get temperatures to a comfortable 78 degrees.

Multiple courts have ruled incarceration in extremely hot or cold temperatures is unconstitutional, said Wanda Bertram, a spokesperson for the Prison Policy Initiative. But despite court rulings, there isn’t a national standard for managing extreme temperatures in jails, she said. 

A 2019 report by the Prison Policy Initiative found 13 southern states including Mississippi lacked central air in their prisons. Years later, most southern states still lack air conditioning in their prisons, Bertram said.  

It’s often older prisons like Parchman that are least likely to have air conditioning throughout their facilities, she said, and that is often because infrastructure needs have piled up. However, there are some newer facilities that don’t have air conditioning. 

“States are choosing not to provide this, often or not,” Bertram said. 

Eastern Mississippi Correctional Facility, which is privately operated for MDOC, has a central air conditioning system, including in all housing units, contractor Management and Training Corporation said in a statement. 

Cain said the Parchman air conditioning project is $650,000 from MDOC’s budget. He also expects to use funds. 

The state prisons commissioner also sees adding air conditioning as a way to address issues raised by the federal government and attract people to work in the state’s prison system. 

In an April 2022 investigation report, the Department of Justice listed high temperatures as one of many issues that exist at Parchman. The report talks about extreme heat in restrictive housing units, which is also known as solitary confinement. 

READ MORE: DOJ says Parchman conditions violate the Constitution

One of the report’s examples about conditions in restrictive housing is about a man who had been on row for about 20 years and had no indication of mental health issues. In February 2021, he began expressing suicidal ideation and the week before his death by suicide, he had been seeking relief from excessive heat in his unit. 

An investigation report found temperatures that week reached 124.5 degrees, and temperature logs from MDOC for the same timeframe showed temperatures between 95 and 145.1 degrees, according to the report. 

“Incarcerated persons in prolonged restrictive housing in egregious conditions at Parchman can and do suffer mental harm, and this harm is evidenced by self-injurious behavior,” the DOJ report states.

People with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, mental illness, poor blood circulation and obesity are more vulnerable to extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Certain medications and old age can also affect a person’s ability to regulate their body temperature. 

Heat-related illnesses are preventable, according to the CDC, but if untreated they can result in potentially fatal conditions such as heat stroke and dehydration.

One of the remedies the Justice Department recommended to fix constitutional violations is to ensure sanitary and safe conditions, including proper temperature regulation, in restrictive housing. Air conditioning isn’t specified as a specific remedy. 

In addition to addressing extreme temperatures at Parchman, Cain said installing air conditioning can help recruit people to work in the prison system and promote a safer environment.

Adequate staffing is another recommendation by the Justice Department to allow for better supervision, safety and protection from harm. 

The Department of Corrections is looking to hire 600 people, Cain said. 

Correctional officers and case managers received a 10% pay increase earlier this month, with a starting pay of about $17 an hour or $35,500 with benefits. When he first became commissioner in 2020, starting pay was $14 an hour.  

“We’re going to have to work to get there,” Cain said about completing air conditioning installation, staff recruitment and other ongoing projects through the corrections department.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Dire US labor shortage provides opportunity for ex-convicts

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rssfeeds.clarionledger.com – Mississippi – 2022-07-10 09:06:45

When Antonio McGowan left the Mississippi Penitentiary at Parchman after serving 17 years, he was free for the first time since he was 15. But as an adult finally out from behind bars, he immediately found himself confined to menial labor.

McGowan needed stable work, for a paycheck and to keep busy, but temporary gigs were all he could find. Just as those around him counseled the…

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Mississippi Supreme Court blocks more DNA tests in death row case

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rssfeeds.hattiesburgamerican.com – Mississippi – 2022-07-05 13:53:02

Willie Jerome Manning

A has ruled that a row inmate will not be allowed to seek additional DNA testing on scene evidence from the shooting deaths of two college students nearly 30 years ago.

Willie Jerome Manning, now 54, remains in the Mississippi Penitentiary at Parchman. He was convicted in 1994 on two counts of capital murder in the December 1992 killings of…

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