‘They Are Treated Like Animals’ Lockdown at Mississippi Prison Over Guard Shortage Enters 4th Month

Roughly 1,800 people imprisoned at a South Mississippi prison in Leakesville are locked in their cells 23 hours a day and haven’t been allowed visitors in at least three months.

Family members of the men imprisoned say their fathers and sons and brothers are being subjected to inhumane conditions and abuse from prison guards. “They are treated like animals” family members say, but they fear retribution for speaking out about the mistreatment.

The prison lockdown is because of a shortage of guards in the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC).

In October, lockdowns were ordered at South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) in Leakesville, Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, East Mississippi Correctional Facility, and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.

The lockdowns were temporarily lifted in November, but most of the SMCI prison went back on lockdown in January and there is no indication of when it will end. In late January, visitation and other “privileges” were canceled at SMCI.

In a lockdown, inmates aren’t allowed outside their cells for 23 hours a day, things like educational classes, visitations, church or going to the library are not allowed.



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