State Senator reacts to problems at Mississippi prisons

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Department of Corrections is facing one of the greatest obstacles they’ve ever had to deal with; several deaths, riots, fires and injuries all over the course of just a few months.

There have been at least four inmate deaths in the past week, and the entire system is currently on lockdown.

MDOC says movement remains restricted in all of the prisons. They ensure that the conditions at Parchman and all other prisons are under control.

State Senator John Horhn of District 26 begs to differ. He said that there is no simple fix, but that managing the overcrowding is a place to start.

“The long term solution is that we’ve gotta come up with someways to do significant reform so that we cut down on the number of people who are incarcerated,” Horhn said. “We give them the kinds of tools that they need to become productive citizens.”

Funding is another major issue. Horhn said guards are underpaid and prisons are understaffed.

“They’re the ones who are on the front line of the system,” Horhn explained. “If you’re paying someone minimum wage to guard what may be a dangerous population I think that that’s very unrealistic that we’ll be able to get and keep good people who know what they’re doing.”

Horhn added that legislature and MDOC must work together to dip into the general fund to provide more support for all prison staff.

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