- On Tuesday, MDOC confirmed the death of two inmates overnight in an “isolated incident” at Parchman
- The Parchman chaplain contacted the next of kin but the inmate’s identities have yet to be released to the public
- Newly appointed Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves called for complete transparency regarding the “catastrophe” that is the current Mississippi prison system
- The two deaths mark at least the eighth death in the Mississippi prison system since December 29
The Mississippi Department of Corrections has confirmed two more inmates were killed at the deeply troubled Parchman prison. These deaths follow the fruition of long-running problems that escalated to the point of retaliatory gang-related killings from December into January.
Two More Inmates Dead
In a tweet Tuesday morning, MDOC said the two inmates were killed but it appeared to be an “isolated incident—not a continuation of the recent retaliatory killings.” MDOC said the Parchman chaplain contacted the next of kin but the inmates were not identified to the public as of yet.
Two inmates were killed in Parchman last night. At this moment, it appears to be an isolated incident—not a continuation of the recent retaliatory killings. The Parchman chaplain has reached out to the next of kin.— MDOC (@MS_MDOC) January 21, 2020
A second tweet followed saying “We are investigating further now.” MDOC claims they are “confident” they will be able to compile “accurate information.”
We are investigating further now. When we compile details and feel confident that information is accurate, we will quickly share more.— MDOC (@MS_MDOC) January 21, 2020
Governor Tate Reeves Call For Transparency
Newly appointed Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves also responded to the two deaths on Twitter. Reeves claimed his office has been working with MDOC and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to “Respond and prevent this going forward.” Reeves asked MDOC to provide as much information to the public as quickly as possible. “Transparency is the first step,” Reeves wrote.
We have been working around the clock with MDOC and DPS to respond immediately and prevent this going forward. There is much more to be done here. We have asked them to provide as much information to the public as possible as quickly as possible. Transparency is the first step. https://t.co/ouMtp0mdQt— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) January 21, 2020
Previous Deaths In MDOC
On Sunday Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton confirmed that inmate Gabriel Carmen had died in a holding cell in Unit 29. Carmen was allegedly irritated and throwing feces in the hall just twenty minutes before he was found dead in his cell. It took correctional officers roughly 40 minutes to get to Carmen after he jammed the door from the inside with a pipe from the toilet.
Carmen was at least the sixth inmate to die in MDOC custody since the December 29 murder of 40-year-old Terrandance ‘Kaboom’ Dobbins at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution at Leakesville. Inmates say Dobbins—a member of the Gangster Disciples—was stabbed to death by a member of the rival gang, Vice Lords. Video from an inmate claims to show an inmate throwing fire on the body of Dobbins while yelling, “Rest in piss Kaboom! Burn in Hell Kaboom! Rest in Piss Kaboom! Burn in Hell Bitch!”
The Mississippi Prison System Is A Catastrophe
Reeves is taking a different approach than former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant who blamed the inmates for the current condition of Parchman. Last week Reeves admitted the current state of the Mississippi prison system is a “catastrophe.” Reeves went on to say, “We will never fully eradicate evil, but we can do better than this.”
MODC Commissioner Pelicia Hall resigned from her position just before news broke of the chaotic environment Mississippi officials have allowed to manifest within their prison system. Reeves is appointing Boyle Mayor Tommy Taylor as the interim commissioner of corrections while searching for a permanent replacement for Hall. Taylor is a former state lawmaker with experience in law enforcement.
Reeves also said the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation will be assigning an officer to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman to investigate any criminal activity connected to the extreme violence at Parchman. Inmates claim guards were “popping locks” for members of the Vice Lords to attack members of the Gangster Disciples during lockdowns. One video leaked to social media claims an inmate is being stabbed to death during a lockdown. Despite the inmates screaming and creating noise during the attack, no guard is ever seen in the over two-minute long video.
A lawsuit put together by Jay-Z and Yo Gotti was filed last week against Hall and Mississippi State Penitentiary Superintendent Marshall Turner. The lawsuit accuses Mississippi of underfunding their prison system which in turn created a dangerous environment for the inmates within. The lawsuit is the third major lawsuit against Parchman since 1971 for violating inmate’s constitutional rights.