BOLTON, Miss. (localmemphis.com) – Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson says the abuse at Parchman Prison must stop. He talked exclusively to Local 24 News Weeknight Anchor Katina Rankin about what he expects from the state.
“They (prisoners) acknowledge they did wrong. Theyacknowledge that they have to go to jail and pay their debt to society so tospeak, but a three-year sentence for a bad check or some other infractionshouldn’t become a death sentence just because you go to Parchman,” saidU.S. Congressmen Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.
Congressmen Bennie Thompson is upset over the recentdeaths at Parchman Prison in Mississippi, which sits in his district – so upsetthat he’s asked the D.A. in Sunflower County to convene a GrandJury.
“Wefiled another supplemental request to the Department of Justice – that look, it’snot getting any better. All these things that I alleged with other people arecontinuing to happen. Your immediate involvement is required or else itwill just become an everyday occurrence.”
TheCongressmen sat down exclusively with Local 24 News Weeknight Anchor KatinaRankin in his Bolton, Mississippi office to discuss the Parchman problems.
“We’rein a terrible situation. I’ve talked with local officials. I’ve talked withfamilies of people who have individuals incarcerated there, and they’re veryconcerned,” said Thompson. “People say the gangs are doing this. Well,if you check with any facility, the gang environment is there. But when youtalk to people, they (gangs) grow when you don’t have proper supervision ofinmates. And so, because we don’t have it, we have the lowest paid correctionofficers in the country, then you pay for what you get.”
Thompsonsays the state must step up and solve the problem now.
“50years ago, the state was sued for the very same conditions – if not worse –that are existing now at Parchman. It’s a state function. It’s a statepenitentiary. So, we want the state to do what constitutionally they’rerequired to do,” said Thomspon. “They have to provide a safe,sanitary environment for the inmates. They have to make sure from thestandpoint of food, supervision – everything you would expect a human being tohave. It’s just that they don’t have their freedom but every requirementthey’re tasked with doing it.”