Parchman Prison on Fire While the Politicians Diddle……

Recent news of a portion of Parchman Prison literally being set ablaze amid reports of out of control gang violence, along with a revisit to last year’s legislative session it is painfully obvious this State’s elected officials are among the most useless creatures to grace this planet with the lone exception of lining their own campaign coffers (and pockets) with special interest money, which they are expert.

Prison brass warned of dangerous conditions a year ago, but lawmakers did not act ~ Kayleigh Skinner and Adam Ganucheau

In the same January 2019 hearing, Manisa Ragsdale, a lieutenant with the corrections department, told the committee that employees’ working conditions were outright dangerous.

“One of the main concerns that I see happening every day is low staffing,” Ragsdale said. “If we were to have a major incident to happen, there is no one there to respond to the incidents.”

Ragsdale continued: “People are having to come in early just so they can have adequate staff to run the shift for one day. It’s kind of dangerous. If you have something to happen you don’t have anyone to respond. If I’m in a major crisis, who is going to come and see about me?”

We’re damn lucky in South Mississippi because we have the best run regional facility in the entire state, thanks to a seasoned Prison Warden and local Sheriff. That facility is the exception in Mississippi not the rule.

Lawmakers refused to increase an infamous prison’s funding. Then, chaos erupted. ~ Jerry Mitchell

Corrections officials last year failed to fill hundreds of positions available for guards. In a Sept. 6 email obtained by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, a correctional officer, Terrence Shaw, told state lawmakers how dangerous it had become working in Unit 29, Parchman’s maximum-security unit.

A building at Unit 29 that should have at least five officers had only two, and some buildings had only one, he wrote. “The National Guard army should have been called in several years ago.”

“Staff morale is down, staff quitting left and right,” Shaw wrote. “All staff working deserve a pay increase that is fit to live.”

Inmates and experts alike say the current violence in no small part arises from the prison’s sheer state of disrepair. Building facilities — water, lights, sewage — are crumbling. The‌ ‌prison’s‌ drinking ‌water‌ ‌has violated the Safe Drinking Water Act dozens of times, ‌and‌ the Environmental Protection Agency has cited the ‌prison’s sewage‌ ‌system‌ for three years for violating the Clean Water Act, documents‌ ‌show.‌‌ ‌Parchman’s‌ ‌accreditation‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌American‌ ‌Correctional‌ ‌Association,‌ ‌which‌ ‌sets‌ ‌standards‌ ‌for‌ ‌prisons‌ ‌across‌ ‌the‌ ‌country,‌ ‌lapsed in 2017.‌‌

Alger Retherford spent more than four decades behind bars at Parchman for murder and robbery. A member of the prison’s repair crew, he was released in May.

“We have come full circle, right back to 1975, the same conditions,” Retherford, 62, said.

You do not have to look very hard to see the signs of a hollowed out state government everywhere, where the youngest, most vulnerable of our citizens have been roundly failed by child protective services, which has been under federal court supervision for years with little to no improvement. Its a story that repeats across state government.

The causes of these problems can be easily traced to the people calling the shots up in Jackson for the past 16 years. Mississippi voters reward their politicians for failing as a general rule and that was true last year as our new Gov is the architect of stripping state agencies of resources. Is it any wonder people are leaving Mississippi in droves, especially younger folks, who do not have to go far to escape the third world armpit of the US.

7 thoughts on “Parchman Prison on Fire While the Politicians Diddle……”

  1. No excuse for our prison system to have gotten this bad under 8 years of a Governor, Phil Bryant, who served 5 years in law enforcement as a Deputy Sheriff in Hinds County. Pathetic.

  2. Politicians suck. But blaming politicians because a bunch no-good, gangsta-g, sons-o-b’s are shanking each other is fugazi. The problem is that we have too many prisoners because we have too many no-good, gansta-g, sons-o-b’s running around committing serious crimes. One can make all the excuses in the world for why a guy gets high on meth, crack, or, weed, and then steals, shoots, or predates sexually. But until that rotten part of “our community” gets it act straight, the system – which provides those folks their food, clothing and shelter – will continue to circle the bowl dragging the good citizens down with them. A short-sighted approach is to say “raise taxes”. So the problem is we have too many wealthy business or people sitting on too high a mound of money? Not hardly – A majority of employees’ paychecks ALREADY come from the taxes paid by private employers/employees in Mississippi. (Public employees does not create true wealth in an economy either. The public sector employee sells nothing for profit. He instead provides a civic service but at a cost extracted from the private employer/employee by taxes.) How much more cost can one put on private enterprise before it falters too. I will agree that a mark of a society is to provide humane prisons. It is a duty of the good guys. But the mark of a society is also for those drug addled, no-good, predating drains on society to sober up, get to work a be a part of the solution not problem. Quit being a poo-stain on society and this problem solves itself. All the families quoted in the paper being scared for their loved ones – here is a question – Why don’t you pony extra $$ to pay your loved ones stay in jail? What did you do to stop your out-of-control loved one before he committed crimes serious enough to go to Parchman? If you won’t do it for a loved one, why should we do it for a stranger? As a good guy stroking the checks in Mississippi, I have had a belly full of those who believe those like me or the “government” we fund has a duty to do it all for them. Responsibility starts and stops with the individuals that commit crimes, go to jail and then join a gang to shank somebody.

  3. I worked in the private sector for many years before making a mid life career move to the public sector.
    Yes, there is some truth to what a lot of people say about state employees being lazy,etc. but there are many that are hardworking people as well. If not, I guess nothing would get done.
    Taxes do pay for government employees but without them the roads would be worse, the students would not be as intelligent, crime would be higher, etc. but this post is not about this subject.
    This post is about our elected officials not doing their job. I sat in many of these budget hearings and it’s a waste of time. The Lt. Gov and speaker at the time snickered in each other’s ear when they weren’t looking at their phones. No matter what the agency heads tell them if goes into deaf ears.
    Instead of continuing to ramble the bottom line is this.
    Politicians, especially in this state, wait for a CRISIS so they can ride their white horse in and come to the rescue. I learned this early on in my job from a staffer at the capital and it has come true too many times to count.
    Look back at this post a year later and see how many elected officials brag about fixing this crisis that they created. Hopefully by fixing the prison situation this year they don’t create a new crisis somewhere else.
    Who am I kidding?
    Consider these special sessions we have every year are so they can gather attention by doing something they should have done during their 3 or 4 month regular session.
    It’s disgusting and our new governor is the worst of them all.
    BTW, I vote Republican the overwhelming majority of the time but dealt with this bullshit in Jackson too long.

  4. Why would the public need to pay Tish to listen to the DMR Chief on the spillway opening? First of all he is a paid public figure using his work time to speak. Secondly why would a non chamber member have to pay more than a chamber member. She gets our tax dollars. Every year. I guess it was free to the politicos that fund her.

      1. Trixi,
        I communicated to General Spraggins about this.

        He clearly did not know about fees being charged to citizens to hear what he had to say. He was clearly on the taxpayer payroll, talking about a taxpayer problem with the fix on the fresh water intrusion clearly being funded by the tax payer. He was humble in stating he did not want or know about sponsors or fees and that he certainly did not get paid.

        He was hijacked exactly the way the Chamber Hijacked the State of the county 2 years ago in a public building soliciting financial sponsors to the directors initiative.

        At the State of the county not paying for use of the school-and the General Spraggins speech on our nickle for his travel salary there was no give back to the community just opportunistic predation of a public situation!

        At both events they solicited $1000 and $500 sponsors not to support the community or fix a problem but to boost the chambers coffers! As well the Supervisors or the DMR Chief were not noticed that it was a fund raiser for the Chambers gain!

        The Chamber needs to raise their dues and quit predating the unknowing public officials for their gain.

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