Another inmate found dead inside understaffed Mississippi prison

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RadioOnFire.com – The latest death of an inmate at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman is raising more red flags about the safety of the state’s prisons.

Thomas Lee, 49, was found hanging about 10 a.m. Wednesday in his one-man cell in Unit 29, Mississippi Department of Corrections officials said. The death appears to be suicide, MDOC officials said.

Lee pleaded guilty in 2014 to capital murder and was sentenced in Grenada to life in prison without the possibility of parole in connection with the death of Grenada police Capt. Wayne Haddock. Haddock was struck and killed by a fleeing car on Oct. 7, 2011, while he was trying to lay spike strips to stop the car, prosecutors said. Lee was a passenger in the car, authorities said.

The investigation is ongoing and an autopsy will be performed.

This is the third inmate death this week at Parchman, MDOC officials said. Prison officials said the deaths are not related to fatal gang-related fights at the prison in December and early January.

Gov. Tate Reeves and MDOC interim Commissioner Tommy Taylor will hold a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce “several important changes implemented to protect the safety of officers and prisoners” at the state’s prison facilities.

“It’s devastating to know that men and women inside these walls are in custody, meaning they’re in the care of the state of Mississippi, are losing their lives at such an alarming rate,” said C.J. Lawrence, with Black No Chaser.

Black No Chaser is one of several groups that are part of the Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition. At least 10 people have died in the past month in MDOC facilities, authorities said. Lawrence is questioning the narrative around the deaths.

The Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition and other groups are preparing to rally at 11 a.m. Friday at the state Capitol. They are calling for humane treatment of those incarcerated in MDOC facilities, as well as the release of some nonviolent and drug offenders.

“Our desire, ultimately, is transform this system,” Lawrence said.

The movement is gaining celebrity support from music mogul Jay Z and rapper Yo Gotti, who are already suing the state over “inhumane conditions” at MDOC.

Source WAPT (Parchman, Miss)

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