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. They acknowledge that they have to go to jail and pay their debt to society so to speak, but a three-year sentence for a bad check or some other infraction shouldn’t become a death sentence just because you go to Parchman,” said U.S. Congressmen Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.
Congressmen Bennie Thompson is upset over the recent deaths at Parchman Prison in Mississippi, which sits in his district – so upset that he’s asked the D.A. in Sunflower County to convene a Grand Jury.
“We filed another supplemental request to the Department of Justice – that look, it’s not getting any better. All these things that I alleged with other people are continuing to happen. Your immediate involvement is required or else it will just become an everyday occurrence.”
The Congressmen sat down exclusively with Local 24 News Weeknight Anchor Katina Rankin in his Bolton, Mississippi office to discuss the Parchman problems.
“We’re in a terrible situation. I’ve talked with local officials. I’ve talked with families of people who have individuals incarcerated there, and they’re very concerned,” said Thompson. “People say the gangs are doing this. Well, if you check with any facility, the gang environment is there. But when you talk to people, they (gangs) grow when you don’t have proper supervision of inmates. And so, because we don’t have it, we have the lowest paid correction officers in the country, then you pay for what you get.”
Thompson says the state must step up and solve the problem now.
“50 years 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 state penitentiary. So, we want the state to do what constitutionally they’re required to do,” said Thomspon. “They have to provide a safe, sanitary environment for the inmates. They have to make sure from the standpoint of food, supervision – everything you would expect a human being to have. It’s just that they don’t have their freedom but every requirement they’re tasked with doing it.”