Memphis, Tenn. — For the first time since its announcement, Gov. Tate Reeves is responding to the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into the conditions at four Mississippi prisons.
On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Reeves said the Department of Corrections is one of his administration’s main concerns.
The governor says they are in the process of closing unit 29 at Parchman, a unit that has been under scrutiny by activists for its living conditions.
Gov. Reeves said there were at least 1400 inmates in the unit when he took the role of governor, but now there are only a little more than 900 inmates still housed in the unit.
The Department of Justice says it is investigating the conditions at four of the prisons : the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, Southern Mississippi Correctional Institute, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.
The DOJ says it is looking into whether the MDOC works to protect prisoners from physical harm at the hands of other inmates, as well as whether there is adequate suicide prevention.
The governor says he is aware of the problems with the MDOC, and he is currently working on a plan. The governor did not reveal that plan but says they are close to a solution.
“I want to be transparent about our thought process as we work through it,” Gov. Reeves said. “There are very few facilities in the state that have the capability to house these types of inmates – one of them is Walnut Grove. As I’ve previously shared, we’re looking possibility at Walnut Grove as a long term solution.”