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US Mississippi prison debacle with deaths and riots triggers rally for reform

07:25  25 january  2020
07:25  25 january  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Mississippi ex-correctional officer who kicked, punched, stomped on inmate gets prison time

  Mississippi ex-correctional officer who kicked, punched, stomped on inmate gets prison time A former Mississippi corrections officer who kicked, punched, and stomped on an inmate was sentenced Friday to nearly 6 years in prison. Shelly Griffith, 29, who worked with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), pleaded guilty in December 2017 to violating the civil rights of an inmate Leon Hayes, by using excessive force against him, according to a news release from the Justice Department.Investigators said Griffith physically assaulted Hayes with a dangerous weapon on May 25, 2016.

More info: Mississippi Prisoners Continue to Expose Abuses within Prison with Phones… There is currently a rally being set up on January 24th at 3PM on South Steps of the State Capitol Building in Prison reform activists have started a petition demanding Parchman to be closed and has received

"Individuals held in Mississippi 's prisons are dying because Mississippi has failed to fund its prisons ," the lawsuit said. "Plaintiffs' lives are in peril," the lawsuit said. "These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi ’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights."

Dozens of family and friends of prisoners at a Mississippi state prison as well as several leaders of reform groups rallied on Friday to call on the newly elected governor to shut down the "terrible" facility.

a group of people standing in front of a building: People attend a prison reform rally in Jackson, Mississippi, Jan. 24, 2020.© WAPT People attend a prison reform rally in Jackson, Mississippi, Jan. 24, 2020.

The demonstration, led by groups including Color Of Change, Until Freedom, Team Roc, REFORM and Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition, called on elected officials including Governor Tate Reeves to investigate what's going on inside the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

The maximum-security prison reported eight inmate deaths within a month as well as riots, mold infestations and 24-hour lockdowns without showers, clean clothes or adequate water, according to Color of Change's Facebook's event page.

Ninth inmate dies at Mississippi's Parchman prison

  Ninth inmate dies at Mississippi's Parchman prison A ninth inmate has died at Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman, the county coroner said on Sunday. © Courtesy Mississippi Department of Corrections The Mississippi Department of Corrections said no foul play is suspected in the most recent death at Parchman. The prisoner Joshua Norman, "was found hanging in his cell during a security check at 11:12 am.," Heather Burton, Sunflower County Coroner said in a statement. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

To prison reformers , Christopher Epps was a savior. Mississippi ’s notorious prison system was overcrowded and inhumane when Epps took over as corrections commissioner in 2002. He reduced sentences for nonviolent offenders, shrunk the prison population

The prison abolition movement is a loose network of groups and activists that seek to reduce or eliminate prisons and the prison system, and replace them with systems of rehabilitation that do not place a focus on punishment and government institutionalization.

One of the speakers at the rally on Friday afternoon in front of Mississippi's State Capitol building called the prisoners the "whistleblowers" of the "broken criminal justice system."

Inmates used contraband cellphones to communicate to family members about the long-standing conditions at the prison.

Michael Norwood used a smuggled cellphone to text his mother that he thought he was going to get killed, another speaker said on Friday. Norwood, who was serving a 15-year sentence for selling marijuana, shooting into a dwelling and aggravated assault, was found dead in his cell in April 2018.

Reeves, who has only been on the job for about a week, appointed Tommy Taylor, the former mayor of Boyle, Mississippi, and chairman of the House Corrections Committee, to serve as the interim commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

The governor also took a tour of the facility himself and admitted the conditions were "terrible."

A federal civil lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 29 prisoners. The state's Department of Corrections former Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Mississippi State Penitentiary Superintendent Marshall Turner are among the defendants.

The lawsuit claims the officials were not taking measures to improve the conditions and to stop the violent outbreaks due to understaffing.

The crisis at the prison caught the attention of Jay-Z and Mississippi-born rappers Yo Gotti and Big K.R.I.T.

Pranksters troll 2020 Dems in Iowa with outrageous stunts, making for awkward final moments .
Two pranksters appear to be trolling the candidates across Iowa in the lead-up to the state's caucuses Monday night -- with antics ranging from mock proposals to presidential contenders to fake playbills handed out at rallies. © 2016 Bravo Media LLC WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Episode 13181 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Selvig, Davram Stifler -- (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) "The Good Liars," a New York City-based comedy duo of Jason Selvig and Davram Stieflier, have created awkward moments for 2020 Democrats looking to make a good last impression on Iowa voters before the first-in-the-nation caucus

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