All criminal cases substantiated by evidence are presented to local District Attorney Offices for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. Administrative violations of policy are presented at an employee Administrative Review Hearing, if applicable.
In furthering our commitment to the public’s safety, the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), through its Corrections Investigation Division, has developed a program that will enhance the effectiveness of our escape investigations. In previous years, a limited number of CID Investigators and K-9 Units from the Prisons were tasked with these investigations, which encompassed the entire state of Mississippi. In addition to the previous method, the Department is now utilizing its certified law enforcement Field Officers who are stationed in Community Corrections Field Offices throughout the state. MDOC’s Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST) program has received the cooperative support of the local Police and Sheriff’s Departments statewide as well as the MS Highway Patrol and other state agencies. The collaborative effort of these agencies has and will continue to result in faster recapture times of escaped inmates.
CID has addressed the number of offenses, i.e., assaults, extortion, drug activity, etc. occurring within the prisons by the creation of the Security Threat Group Management Unit (STGMU), which has been operational since December 4, 2001. This Unit has expanded upon the role of the Security Threat Group Coordinators (STGCs) at each prison. The duties of the STG Coordinators include, but are not limited to, identifying and validating inmates whose activities are gang related and pose a serious threat to Institutional security. Once validated, the security threat group member commonly referred to as a “gang member” is constantly monitored and tracked. This information is utilized by Unit Administrators and Classification staff in their housing placements of offenders and as intelligence by investigators in solving crimes.
The Security Threat Group Management Unit, in accordance with MDOC Policy, has mandated a zero tolerance position in its efforts to reduce gang activity and assaults being committed in MDOC’s facilities. Through this program, gang members are able to renounce their gang membership and are provided the opportunity to participate in programs designed to help them come to the realization that they do not have to be part of a gang to have a feeling of self-worth. They will also be required to participate in vocational rehabilitation and skill development programs geared to making them productive citizens once released from prison.
The work of Security Threat Group Management Units in other states has proven to have decreased gang-related incidents and disturbances by 80%, and have decreased assaults by nearly 30%. These statistics demonstrate that the existence of a STGIU is mandatory in our efforts to reduce criminal activity within our prison system.
Since the inception of the STG Management Unit, the three State operated prisons along with the reporting private prisons have seen a fluctuation in the security threat group related activities. It is believed that the fluctuation of the numbers may be attributed to an increased staff awareness/recognition of said activities through training provided statewide to MDOC staff as well as the Private Prison staff; stronger policies/procedures, and more accurate reporting of said incidents. Overall, MDOC has seen a 38% decrease in inmate on inmate assaults and a 44% decrease in gang related incidents such as extortions, threats, and a 36% overall decrease in conspiracies since its first measurable statistics of year-end 2002.