Southern Gulags- Parchman State Prison in Mississippi


The following was sent to me by the incarcerated in Parchman who desperately want the world to know -they are suffering. There is no saying “so what, they are in prison-what do they expect”? After reading their words and seeing the photos, if you come to that conclusion, you have no heart and no soul.

To Those Who Don’t Know Its A Must That You Do. 
I write this with the utmost respect for each individual who cares enough to listen to not only my cry for help, but every inmate housed in the Mississippi State Penitentiary(MSP). I begin by saying the atrocities that we face here are NOT a recent issue. These are infractions, injustices, and inhumane treatment caused by a system that was created to rehabilitate n correct us, yet in retrospect it has notoriously done the opposite. Society is only aware of what the news reports from stories given by The Commissioner and MDOC staff. Yet the truth is MDOC is a criminal enterprise itself that NEVER gets to be exposed for how the inmates housed in their custody or treated. From causing death, due to psychological tactics, to lack of proper medical treatment and so many other things I will attempt to give you a glimpse of how corrupt The Mississippi Department of Corrections truly are. For you have to ask yourself this question; “If MDOC is to rehabilitate and help correct the behavior of those imprisoned there, how is it the criminal acts performed by those employed with MDOC are NEVER reported except for officers who bring in contraband?” Contraband is a front used to make the public think that inmates have not changed and are manipulating the staff. Yet does contraband make MDOC staff abuse, neglect, be illegal, and negative towards inmates? Definitely NOT!   The following outlined FACTS have been provided to all whom are able to hear these words to prove that NOT only does MDOC finally need to be thoroughly investigated, but also MSP needs to be closed and condemned and rendered inoperable. 
I. Living Conditions   A. Mildew and Mold- Every housing unit which houses Closed Custody level inmates (Buildings G,H,I,K,L) has mold and mildew issues. It is no secret how mold and mildew can cause major health issues to any human being. These buildings have been painted over during inspections to cover up the truth which is mold and mildew is everywhere.  B. Unclean and Hazardous Water- So many times throughout the year MSP warns their staff to not drink the water here. Yet the inmates do not get this warning they are allowed to drink it unbeknownst of the consequences. The water is visibly polluted wit feces for they have a sewer system which supposedly filters water. Several inmates who have had no prior health issues have become ill with the same symptoms immediately after drinking this water. The pipes are rusty fro years of being corroded and this is the pipes which contain the water thatvtge inmates have to take showers wit and drink. There’s no water to get samples of the water out to be tested and prove this. Therefore this is one of the most overlooked issues we have here with the staff. With no other options inmates are forced to drink unhealthy water further affecting their bodies unaware of the outcome.  C. Heat- MSP has no ventilation for the inmates housed in lockdown units. Which is very unhealthy for inmates already suffering from health issues. Though there is a fan at the top center of each zone with nothing but hot air due to the high temperatures that are frequent during spring and summer these fans only circulate hot air making it miserable and unbearable for inmates to find a way to cool off. Ice is NOT being passed out to inmates regular and for the most part hardly at all. Yet there have been times when officers have been seen taking bags of ice to their cars as they leave after their shift. Note that inmates are told there’s not enough to go around. Inmates are given a clear plastic trash bag of concentrated juice which is a handful and told to make it stretch for 70-80 inmates on each zone in a 5 gallon cooler. With no clean water to mix it with inmates are forced to use hot shower water to mix with the juice concentrate. Hot juice in the heat.
With half of the sinks either inoperable and waiting on repair from maintenance who will come and still not fix things needed and the other where sinks only have the hot water button working. Yet the tower officers and officer who work the building are able to work in the hall area where the case manager and unit administrator office is where there is cool air miraculously.    D. Rodents and Insects- MSP is infested with rodents in every unit. Mice are everywhere literally and they are frequently seen eating inmates food which is hard to keep from them when they’re inside the roof and vents as well as ground level. Spiders have bitten inmates each year and you can go in each unit and find a spider web in crevices etc. Roaches are ridiculously present mostly at night and inmates are housed in the midst of these infestations and forced to rid themselves of these pests to no avail. Even snakes have been killed on zones where inmates are housed. Bugs unidentified are constantly a normal presence in these housing units and although there are people who come and spray it is a known fact that it does not work or get rid of these rodents and insects. This includes birds who are seen all over MSP dropping excrement on everything from inmates, staff, food trays and inside cells which they enter buildings and are often seen inside zones.   E. Cells inoperable- In each unit there is a problem with roofs leaking in some units you have holes so big where rain pours into the cell and floods out the tier where inmates are made to mop and sweep up rain water. This occurs each time it rains in Parchman, Mississippi. These holes in the ceiling also house insects and rodents that enter and are dangerous to inmates sleeping in these cells.F. Unclean Units- Inmates rarely rarely receive cleaning supplies on the zones to clean their cells and zones with. Although there is a Chemical Crew which brings cleaning chemicals to each unit the officers take them and use them to clean up their offices and the areas in which they are stationed leaving the inmates nothing to use to keep their cells and zones clean.G. Showers   A. Inmates in Closed Custody Level units are forced to go days without receiving showers. The excuse is Short of staff every time. Yet these officers pile up in units laugh joke and eat all dat doing nothing pertaining to their job duties including COUNTS! YES IN UNIT 29 G-L OFFICERS DO NOT PERFORM COUNTS ONCE THEY DO THE FIRST COUNT THEY ARE DONE FOR THE SHIFT WHICH IS TOTALLY AGAINST POLICY. YET WHEN INMATES ESCAPED UNITS WERE PUT ON LOCKDOWN WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED IF OFFICERS DID THEIR JOB AND COUNTED.  B. The showers are mostly Hot water showers streaming out extremely hot water sometimes scalding inmates. When this matter can easily be fixed by maintenance coming and simply turning a knob. Yet these issues are still the same. On average inmates receive 2 showers a week during lockdown. Yet the warden says and instructs his staff to tell the inmates that they are protecting us and doing it to prevent gang violence. Yet they force these same inmates to come out their cells and feed other inmates and clean up around other inmates. Inmates have had issues due to not being able to take showers with medical conditions such as open wounds and boils which require washing and cleaning. These things are ignored by staff who openly complain that they’re being overworked and are not about to do anything. 
II. Impromper Medical Attention   A. Improper Diagnosis- Often inmates have went to the clinic and MSP hospital (Unit 42) to receive treatment for medical complaints only to receive the following: Their vital signs taken a visit with the staff doctor if available and a prescription of Ibuprofen. This ranging from all sorts of medical issues. Inmates have been told they had boils only to later find out it was cancer.
Some going with this historically deadly illness for a while without even knowing due to improper diagnosis by medical staff. Inmates with psychological issues are often overlooked and housed in units that they should not be in causing them to be misjudged due to a lack of knowledge of their mental illnesses setting these inmates up for alterations and incidents that could be prevented if they were housed in proper units for proper care to be given. Doctors and nurses do not properly follow up with inmates when they need dressing changes for open wounds causing eventual infections etc. Diets are not properly administered. Nurses do not bring thermometers and blood pressure machines to check inmates when they enter units to pass out medication. They rarely have sick call forms for inmates with medical issues. Dental is notorious for destroying inmate’s mouths by leaving fragments of teeth in inmate’s mouths during extraction surgery and have several incidents where inmates had to go to CMCF or outside Dentists to correct errors made by MSP Dental staff which the Dentist their has been there approximately 25 years with a very poor attitude often getting into altercations with inmates over mistreatment during surgery procedures. I’m sure if a real medical staff entered and did an audit and check they will find several cases of improper diagnosis within MSP medical staff.
III. Unjust Disciplinary Hearings   A. It is a fact that in UNIT 29 inmates are found GUILTY during Disciplinary Hearings 90% of the time. This is further supported by the fact that Lt. Terry Unit 29’s Disciplinary Hearing Officer has stated that Warden Morris told her to find inmates guilty and make them try to overturn the decision on the appeal process. Inmates have been made to wait excessive lengths of days some exceeding 80-90 days before being given a disciplinary hearing. Yet each time the excuse of WORKLOAD is used to justify this obvious injustice and breach of their own policy(See S.O.P. 18-01) which clearly gives them 7 working days to conduct a hearing. Even with inmates having witnesses and clear proof of their innocence he us still found GUILTY with the same reasons “Based on the reporting officers statement” this contradicts their own policy which states that the hearing officer must be fair and just and make a decision based on FACTS only. This policy is violated almost every time a Disciplinary Hearing is held in Unit 29 by Lt. Terry. (Currently No Longer Employed With MSP)  B. Appeal Process- The appeal process is totally unjust for once an inmate files an appeal on the RVR(Rule Violation Report) the Warden receives it and if he does not grant the inmate the appeal, he is then supposed to take it to court(Sunflower County Court) yet he is not provided ANY assistance on HOW to go about this process with no legal knowledge or lawyer he us helpless and this causes most to give up at this stage. Which is totally unfair and a violation of our rights.
IV. No Legal Assistance  A. MSP does not have adequate legal assistance the staff here is limited obviously with their knowledge of legal matters. Inmates are only able to get paperwork copied and notarized with a hassle to receive the latter right. When asking a question to the legal staff here inmates are mostly given “I don’t know” or “Ask a lawyer replies” it is obvious that MSP hired people to fill space yet did not take time to ensure that they are able to perform their duties adjacent to their title. Inmates have missed due dates etc on filing motions etc concerning their legal cases due to inadequate legal assistance here at MSP.
V. Unjust Lockdown   A.  Collective Punishment- Unit 29 in MSP is currently on lockdown and have been for over 2 months now. No commissary, no visitation, no phone, no recreation. Note that during recreation gym call is the ONLY time inmates can receive a haircut and even when off lockdown inmates rarely ever go to the gym in Closed Custody Units.
Yet everywhere else that have Closed Custody inmates allow gym call. MSP was placed on lockdown like every prison in the state due to an incident which occurred in Marshall County Correctional Facility.  Yet every other prison with the exception of Wilkinson County Marshall County and East Meridian are No Longer on Lockdown. Note MSP is notorious for placing the entire unit of 29 on lockdown due to ONE isolated incident. Thus is totally unfair to inmates who are housed in other units who have no disciplinary or behavior problems and have gone months without incident. Forcing all to suffer due to one or two inmates is wrong no matter how its explained. The Commissioner allows the news to view contraband seized during shakedowns even though its common knowledge the inmates are not bringing this contraband in themselves this is used as the excuse. Yet when you look at the internal issue where is the documentation on WHO THIS CONTRABAND WAS FOUND ON? AND WHY DOESNT MDOC DOCUMENT WHO THE CONTRABAND WAS FOUND ON? ALSO WHY PUNISH EVERY INMATE FOR CONTRABAND FOUND ON INDIVIDUALS AND NOT EVERYONE? MSP staff does not work the inmates do everything from feeding to making sure inmates issues are seen after on these zones. Yet when overcrowding these lockdown periods we are told they are short of staff. This being the same staff that are enough to perform searches and harassment of inmates each day throughout MSP. How can they have enough staff to do shakedowns but not give inmates showers and recreation and allow them to go to school?B. These lockdown periods exceed too long and are mostly unjustified but no one knows these things for inmate’s complaints go to the same Administration that places us on lockdown. Then they say MDOC DCI JERRY WILLIAMS is the one who gave the order, but when family calls MDOC Headquarters the blame is placed back on MSP or MDOC claims to be unaware of these things. VI. Lack Of Education Access   A. Inmates housed in Unit 29 have gone the length of a year without being allowed the opportunity to go to G.E.D classes. Again shirt of staff is the excuse. NOTE: MDOC receives over 900,000.00 especially in 2017 for education to be provided to these inmates. Yet is it being reported that they are going months without even being allowed the opportunity to attend G.E.D. classes? Where are the teachers? Why are the inmates being allowed? What is MDOC doing with the funds if inmates are not receiving the opportunities in which the funds were given? This is totally unacceptable. B. No books or material is being brought to inmates to study during these lockdown periods or even when off of lockdown. Therefore no effort is being made to educate. 
VII. Illegal Practices    A. The Classification process is not being administered according to policy. Inmates for example may be due an upgrade in custody level yet case managers will allow time to overlap and during this time if an inmate receives an RVR he is made to start his process of being RVR free most likely a year before he can be reclassified again. It is a fact that MDOC receives funds for housing Closed Custody Level inmates so if you are not aware of the internal goings of this you will not understand the undercover measures that staff at MSP take to help keep inmates housed at MSP Unit 29.      B. About a month ago Superintendent Marshall Turner had signs made all over MSP in an attempt to filter out an inmate who supposedly emailed him with information about a rival organization. The sign read as follows: “Almight Vice Lord Nation. My brothers will due as I tell them to.” This has NEVER been heard of in ANY prison in America! Why would the Superintendent of a prison single out and target and/or imply in such a bold and enticing manner such a thing? Which an act of this magnitude could have easily caused a disruption not only amongst that organization it could have caused them to have issues with other organizations or gangs.
This sign could have been misinterpreted in several ways and the reaction detrimental to the safety and well being of all inmates housed at MSP.    C. During inspections throughout the years the administration comes around and manipulates the inmates into cleaning up the units with the reward of steak dinners etc. Tricking them into painting over molded and mildew spots and covering up broken areas to pass inspection. Yet they always take the inspectors to the unit that is in the best shape and allow them to walk by the units that they would condemn if they were to ever go inside them. This is a tactic they’ve used over the years. Yet only last year was unit 29 and unit 30 kitchen closed because it was exposed due to inmates refusing to do the dirty work and help them cover up health infractions of ffilth rodents etc. If a thorough ininvestigation was done of these units there is no way they would allow this place to remain open to operate. No way possible. There are entirely tio many infractions in each building. D. Covering up abuse death and suicides- MSP has had several cases of K9 unit abusing and hospitalizing inmates that were not reported to the news. Please Note: Michael Norwood and Milton , April 2nd 2018 it was reported by MDOC that these men committed suicide and that is all their families have as closure. Yet MDOC HAS AN INVESTIGATIVE DEPARTMENT CORRECT? IS THAT DEPARTMENT ONLY FOR INVESTIGATING INMATES OR STAFF ALSO? BECAUSE IF THEY PROPERLY INVESTIGATED AND CARED ABOUT THE FAMILIES OF THESE DECEASED MEN IN THE SENSE OF SHOWING RESPECT ENOUGH TO WANNA GIVE THEM PROPER CLOSURE THEY WOULD HAVE GIVEN THEM JUSTICE BY FINDING AND REVEALING THE TRUTH AND TAKING PROPER ACTIONS. Which the truth is this Both of these men cried out for help prior to committing suicide and taking their lives. Both of these inmates asked for HELP and stated that if they did NOT get any help that they were going to kill themselves. And in return MSP staff laughed at them, cursed them out, told them to do it and walked out of the zone. And in each incident these men took their lives after their last cry for help was made to no avail! Milton Craig’s body laid in Unit 29 A building after being cut down for hours before being transferred he was not taken to the hospital immediately. Procedure teaches these trained officers that when an inmate threatens to commit suicide he is to be restrained immediately and removed of and away from all material that can be used to cause bodily harm and/or death. None of this was done, but the news was ONLY told that these men committed suicide. How will the truth ever get out when MDOC only gets to report their side and are not being truthful to cover up their atrocious acts?E. When mail is being tampered with daily illegally to prevent the truth from coming out what options do the inmates have to seek justice? 
In Conclusion: MDOC is as much responsible for every individual infraction committed by MSP Staff because they are supposed to monitor do audits and things to prevent these injustices not go by what’s put on paper. In each incident that places inmates on lockdown The Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Deputy Commissioner does not go around and speak with the inmates in fact Commissioner Hall hasn’t been insides these zones talking to the inmates much at all. Inmates are forced to be punished based on decisions made without proper investigation and assessment of these incidents which are mostly isolated or due to one or two individuals. The public does not know that Inmates lives health education are all being neglected by MSP STAFF on a daily basis. That inmates with no prior medical history are coming up sick with no reason known and are being incorrectly diagnosed and treated. That inmates are taking their lives due to the pressure of these inhumane living conditions and abusive treatment they have to endure day in and day out.
The public thinks that men who are serving light and lengthy sentences are simply paying their debt to society. Yet the truth is when an inmate enters MSP he may not leave alive. As i close i leave you with a question in the form of a scenario. A guy is sentenced for a crime he committed or may not have yet played a part in. He receives a sentence lets say 8 years. He gets a G.E.D. and several certificates of achievement from courses and/or trades. He’s changed his mind state and behavior and becomes a role model in the prison and he’s rehabilitated. But he has 4 years left to serve. He loses a family member but isn’t allowed to go to the funeral funeral due to MSP being short of staff…he becomes depressed. No Psychiatric Doctor comes to check on his mental state. He’s in a one man cell. Everyday he asks for help someone to talk to about what he’s going through. He’s denied each time. Eventually with nowhere else to turn to feeling that other inmates may may not understand…he takes his life. When you have hundreds of inmates watching this entire situation, what kind of hope optimistic aura do you think they have amongst themselves after seeing what they’re up against. The message is not hidden its right before those who have just heard or read every word. And it is imperative if you have a heart to help us save our lives here at The Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Thank You.

From The Hearts And Minds Of Those Slowing Dying Here.

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