Two more deaths at Parchman, now the governor and committee search for solutions

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – All eyes are back on Parchman once again as two more inmates are found dead early Monday.

This comes even in the midst of the prison being on lock-down and transferring inmates to defuse violence.

Since riots and fights began New Years Eve nine inmates have died in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections mostly at the Parchman facility.

“I have made it very clear to the Department of Corrections, Department of Public Safety and others that we want to get accurate information out,” Governor Tate Reeves said. “But we want to get it out as quickly as possible and that this administration is going to be transparent.”

The two inmates have been identified as 35-year-old Timothy Hudspeth who was serving 10 years for possession of a firearm by a felon. The other 36-year-old James Talley serving 11 years for aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a felon.

While the investigation is ongoing the Sunflower County Coroner initially reports the two were found beaten by blunt objects in unit 30.

“It appears at this time these were isolated incidents not related to the gang violence,” Governor Reeves continued. “That led to the number of occurrences several weeks ago.”

With former Commissioner Pelicia Hall stepping down, Governor Reeves has appointed Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs to lead a committee conducting a nationwide search for a permanent commissioner and reform the state prison system.

“I welcome information from any advocate group, any national group,” Mayor Flaggs stated. “I call on the rappers of the world and Jay-Z don’t just sue. Bring us meaningful, productive information to the table and we’ll listen.”

Leading to the riots and deaths in Parchman have been blamed on poor facility maintenance conditions while the MDOC site is severely understaffed with only one or two guards able to watch 200 inmates.

“Staffing, infrastructure problems, crowded, the sentencing guidelines, you name it and it’s a problem,” Mayor Flaggs told us.

While visiting Jackson Tuesday night Mayor Flaggs is meeting with former MDOC employees to help bring retired workers back to train new staff to be better.

Mayor Flaggs and his committee which consists of attorneys and sheriffs say they already have received applications from across the nation but their is no time frame set in stone on the hiring.

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