JACKSON, MS – FWD.us Mississippi State Director Alesha Judkins issued the following statement today regarding the one-year anniversary of the crisis at Parchman:
“At the end of what has been a horrific year for all Mississippians, we are confronted by the harsh and upsetting reality that no action has been taken to remedy the conditions that have led to a spate of tragic and mostly avoidable deaths that began on December 29, 2019. One year ago today, chaos unfolded at Parchman, marking a chain of events that led to 100 deaths in Mississippi prisons to-date. We know that the terrible problems with Mississippi’s prison system started decades before last year’s eruption at Parchman – but they have been exacerbated by worsening conditions, a pandemic, a swelling prison population, and ongoing inaction in the face of commonsense solutions to bring vulnerable people home safely.
“Mississippi’s full-blown incarceration crisis, driven by long sentences with few opportunities for release, wastes millions of taxpayer dollars, hurts families, and doesn’t make our communities any safer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions for incarcerated Mississippians are past the breaking point, with more than 900 cases of COVID-19 reported throughout Mississippi’s prison system.
“We are days from the start of the 2021 legislative session: policymakers must listen to their constituents and to public safety and public health experts and pass critical reforms to safely reduce the state’s dangerously high prison population. The bipartisan calls for criminal justice reform have never been louder, and the need for legislative action has never been more urgent. It’s time for lawmakers to finish what they started and enact meaningful laws to save lives and make Mississippi families and communities safe.”