JACKSON, MS – Violence at Mississippi’s state prisons is down. At Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, violence is down significantly by 52-percent according to year-over-year statistics kept by the Department of Corrections. Trends in violence are measured using “Rules Violation Reports,” or “RVRs,” which are filed for each infraction of prison rules as established by state law. In the latest stats from 2019 to 2020, RVRs for serious violence at Parchman fell from 817 in 2019 to 393 in 2020, and that includes the riots of January 2020.
MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain said he was surprised by the steep decline because the COVID pandemic kept prisoners in continual lockdown, a situation that often produces more violence. “But this time,” said Commissioner Cain, “we started making major improvements in their living areas and they saw that the new regime was serious about cleaning up our prisons, making repairs, making the food better, and treating them better. We asked them to tell us what was wrong so they told us and we listened.”
When adding all reports together, both serious and minor infractions, total RVRs at Parchman fell by 63-percent, from 3,019 in 2019 to 1,104 in 2020. Total RVRs also fell at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility by 23-percent in 2020 and by 8-percent at South Mississippi Correctional Institute. Total RVRs at CMCF fell from 5,054 in 2019 down to 3,896 in 2020. At SMCI, RVRs declined from 1,802 to 1,657.
Said Commissioner Cain, “As we eradicate gangs, the leaders are realizing they will be exported to other states as well as be charged money for damage to property and injury to other inmates. Plus we are rebuilding our ranks of trained officers.”
Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Jay Mallett said, “We are also working to get violence down by resolving inmate problems more peaceably. And we are better managing our prison populations by housing inmates in situations more appropriate to their classifications. That makes prisons safer.” Added Commissioner Cain, “In short, we are running Mississippi prisons like good prisons should be run and everybody’s benefitting as a result. Half of my inmate letters now –over a thousand- are thanking me for restoring order and safety. And we’ve just begun.”