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Parchman Prison earns first full accreditation in 9 years

Orlando, FL (Jan 31) – For the first time in nearly a decade, the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, Mississippi, regained full national accreditation after rigorous testing by the American Correctional Association.  Founded in 1870, ACA is the country’s foremost monitor of prison conditions and operations with emphasis on inmate living conditions, officer training, and safety inside prisons.

“We couldn’t be happier,” said MSP Superintendent Marcus McClure, who accepted the ACA Accreditation Award at a conference in Orlando, Florida, this weekend.  “We have worked night-and-day to quickly renovate and repair Parchman’s aging facilities, to improve all living conditions for inmates and staff alike, to improve our food and medical care, and make Parchman more about personal development and improvement.”  Superintendent McClure himself last November was awarded Governor Reeves’ “Excellence in Government” award for his tireless efforts to improve Parchman.

An ACA team of corrections experts from around the country spent days inspecting all areas of the prison and found improvements in nearly every metric, including physical conditions of all facilities; staff and inmate safety and security; staff morale; data management; and improvements in MSP’s general functioning. 

Also accepting the award on behalf of Mississippi, MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain said, “We have to give credit to Governor Reeves, the Legislative Corrections Committee and state lawmakers for providing the necessary funds for ongoing improvements as well as recruiting.  The cleaner and safer our prisons are, the easier it will be to recruit more qualified and seasoned staff and retain them.  This award, after nine years, is proof we are making improvements at Parchman and at all of our facilities.”

The new accreditation joins last week’s dismissal of a lawsuit against MDOC and Parchman Prison related to conditions at the facility.  A few days later, an historic marker was unveiled at the front gate of MSP commemorating the Freedom Riders who were jailed at Parchman in 1961.

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Receiving the ACA accreditation on behalf of Mississippi are, left to right, Commissioner Burl Cain; Hillary Benson, ACA Accreditation Manager; and Marcus McClure, Superintendent of Mississippi State Penitentiary. (MDOC PHOTO)

Published: 2/1/2023