Families petition MDOC to stop group punishment

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – When violence happens inside a prison, or when contraband is found, units are placed on lockdown. A prisoner advocacy group is asking the Mississippi Department of Corrections to stop punishing inmates who were not involved.

Jennifer Davis started the Mississippi Dreams Prisoner Advocacy. Their newest petition hopes to put an end to group punishment.

Kristi Wright’s husband has been behind bars the last two years, “It really upsets everyone that shouldn’t have to go through this for the mistake of one or two people.” Since he was transferred to the state prison in Parchman, she says it’s been extremely hard to see him. “He abides by the rules and regulations. And he’s being punished for something somebody else did,” Wright said. She says when his unit is placed on lockdown, he can’t have visits, calls, or access to his commissary. “I can write him, but he can’t write me because can’t buy stamps or envelopes,” Wright said.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections released this statement: “When we have assaults either on staff or inmates, find contraband to include cell phones, or investigate other types of illegal activities, we must limit movement in the entire facility during our investigation. We cannot assume that an incident is isolated, especially in dealing with gang affiliations. Preventing any harm to staff or inmates greatly outweighs the temporary loss of privileges for individual inmates. It is a matter of safety first for everyone involved.”

Davis, whose husband is serving a life sentence, says phone calls should be the least. “It’s not like the prison is paying for us to use the phone. We pay for that. That’s our money we’re spending to talk to our loved ones,” she said.

Mississippi Dreams Prisoner Advocacy is the same group that started a petition last year asking MDOC to allow families take pictures with inmates during visitation. MDOC has not changed their policy.

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