Lawyer questions MDOC practices following prison brawl, inmate death

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The lawyer of Lisa Michelle Courtney, who died in Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in December, wants answers following a prison brawl and her death.

Courtney was arrested back in 2017 for her involvement in a Rankin County home invasion. She was placed in the women’s division of the facility, where family members say she was bullied by inmates and guards.

“Her family had written letters to Mister Ron King, trying to get her help and begging and pleading go get her transferred to another facility. Numerous emails, on numerous occasions,” Attorney Joshua Lewis said.

In July 2019, just months after these requests, a fight broke out between Courtney, the guards and inmates. Lewis said Courtney had been sleeping without a mattress and asked the guard for assistance during feeding time.

Courtney was then dragged out of the fight by staff in plain clothes, who also started hitting her.

The warden, case manager and three correctional officers involved were all suspended and mandated to have a pre-disciplinary hearing with the Mississippi Department of Corrections Board.

Lewis said these staffers should have been terminated.

“Those people need to be held responsible. Give it to a grand jury. See what the grand jury wants to do with it. It’s not something that we feel should just be handled internally and suspensions. Something needs to happen with this.”

He also said there’s witnesses who watched Courtney get attacked on multiple occasions before she died in her cell December 2019.

According to autopsy reports, Courtney died from a perforate stomach ulcer, but Lewis believes there’s suspicions surrounding her death. Family members say she was healthy, but did have reports of shortness of breath before she died.

12 News did reach out to MDOC to see if they are still investigating the brawl. We’re waiting to hear back.

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