Prison advocates rally outside State Capitol

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson against the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

During the first day of the 2020 session, the advocates said they want a federal investigation into the state’s prison system.

Sharon Brown represents Victim’s Voice and has a family member that is currently serving time at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. She said riots over the past two weeks should be expected. “When you treat humans like animals, then you get animalistic behavior,” explained Brown.

The Mississippi State Department of Health’s inspection of Parchman in 2019 uncovered a long list of deficiencies.

Protesters made a formal call for a federal investigation and changes in how inmates do their time. “They need systematic parole eligibility, which they had in the 90s,” said Paloma Wu, senior supervising attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Everybody had parole eligibility in the 90s and it was the racist, draconian drug war that took away parole eligibility for everybody.”

Protesters said it’s up to state lawmakers to make the appropriate changes.

12 News reached out to MDOC for a response to the protests and the call for a federal investigation. We’re waiting to hear back from them.

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