Federal investigation into Mississippi prison conditions announced

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FILE – In this May 19, 2010, file photograph, traffic moves past the front of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Miss. Another Mississippi inmate died at the hands of a fellow inmate, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, this time, at the penitentiary, bringing the death toll to four amid disturbances over the past week in the state prison system. The violence comes even as a federal judge has rejected claims that conditions in one Mississippi prison are unconstitutionally harsh. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

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MISSISSIPPI — There's now a federal investigation into the conditions at four of Mississippi's prisons.

The U.S. Department of Justice's investigation is the latest in a long, deadly saga that mainly centers around the Mississippi State Penitentiary, otherwise known as Parchman.

The prisons being investigated are Parchman, the Southern Mississippi Correctional Institute, the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.

Officials said the investigation will focus on whether the Mississippi Department of Corrections protected prisoners from physical harm at the hands of other prisoners, and whether there is inadequate suicide prevention.

Since Dec. 15, 2019, 15 inmates have died in Mississippi state prisons, and most of those deaths occurred at Parchman.

WREG is working to find more information about the investigation and its scope. We'll provide updates as we learn more.

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