I live in Mississippi and from time I write about to doings in my state….I do not write much for I do not think that too many are interested in the policies and events in Mississippi
But since a good portion of the population of my state is in prison or have been in jail…I read an article about the so-called “restitution program”…..
Debtors’ prison may sound like a concept from another century. But the Marshall Project asserts that Mississippi is running a court-ordered restitution program that is essentially the same thing. The investigation found that judges sentence hundreds of people a year to one of four “restitution centers” around the state. There they must live while they work off court-ordered debts, including fees, fines, and restitution to victims. One big problem is that most of the workers have low-paying jobs, making their stays at the centers open-ended. And “centers” might be overstating things. One is described as a motel-turned-jail that is surrounded by razor wire. The residents sleep on prison-issued mattresses, eat the same food as inmates, and generally have the same restrictions.
“We don’t know of any other states that have a program quite like Mississippi’s,” says Sharon Brett of Harvard’s Criminal Justice Policy Program. The story by Anna Wolfe and Michelle Liu also includes this quote from Cliff Johnson of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi. “Debtors’ prisons are an effective way of collecting money—as is kidnapping. But there are constitutional, public policy and moral barriers to such a regime.” The program has its defenders, including a judge who says it’s better than sending people to regular prison. One woman who went through it isn’t so sure. Annita Husband ended up escaping from her center. When caught, she went to prison for 10 months, about half as long as she would have spent at the center had she stayed and paid off the debt under its system.
I have thought that it was beyond time for reform in our penal systems and programs…..like why is there little training offered or educational programs?
While writing this draft more news about Mississippi penal system came to light……
Two inmates were beaten to death in a fight with other inmates in an understaffed Mississippi prison that has been shaken by other deadly violence in recent weeks, a coroner said. The state Department of Corrections on Tuesday confirmed the men died at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman and said officials are investigating, the AP reports. “Both victims appear to have died from blunt force beating injuries,” said Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton. The department originally said the inmates died Monday night, but Burton later clarified that they died early Tuesday. Department spokeswoman Grace Simmons Fisher said the injuries occurred late Monday as the two inmates fought with other prisoners. “At this moment, it appears to be an isolated incident—not a continuation of the recent retaliatory killings,” the Department of Corrections said Tuesday.
Violence is a recurring problem in Mississippi prisons, where many jobs for guards are unfilled. Five inmates were killed and an undisclosed number of others inmates were injured during an outbreak of violence in Mississippi’s prison system between Dec. 29 and Jan. 3. Three of those five deaths were at Parchman. In addition to those deaths and the two on Tuesday, another inmate was found hanging in his cell Saturday night at Parchman. Burton said she was called Sunday to the prison, where Gabriel Carmen was found hanging the night before. She said corrections officials reported he had been irate and throwing feces before his death. An autopsy was being done. Prison officials said Carmen’s cell lock had been jammed from inside the cell. One of the inmates who died Tuesday was Timothy Hudspeth, 35, who was serving a 10-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The name of the other inmate was not immediately released because a chaplain was trying to reach his family.
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