Mississippi taxpayers spend more to keep people in prison than on economic development, disaster relief, drug enforcement, hospitals, hospital schools and the state’s entire judicial system combined, says the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. So what are taxpayers getting for $389 million in taxes? A system where gangs rule, where corruption festers and where at least one private prison has been called “barbaric.” It’s a system dangerous to both staff and prisoners.
On Sept. 22, after a shakedown at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville, a group of inmates attacked seven correctional officers, who were treated at a hospital and released. Four days earlier, another officer was hospitalized for head injuries from an inmate’s blow. State Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps vowed to see that all inmates were prosecuted. “These assaults illustrate the type of inmates we are dealing with these days,” he said. “I am committed to ensuring that our prisons are appropriately staffed, as SMCI was in these two cases, and our officers are able to go home each day.”