BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - From violence that broke out last week to prison lock-downs, the spotlight continues to shine on the state of Mississippi prisons with inmates posting videos detailing conditions such as water on the floor and mold inside the jail.
Former Parchman inmate Kenneth Daggans stayed in solitary confinement for 8-years at the Mississippi State Pentitentiary. He said for five of those years, a mop and broom were never offered for them to sanitize their cells.
“We had to clean our own cells with the toilet water," Daggans said. "We had to keep our toilet sanitized so we could keep our floors sanitized and wash our own sheets in our toilets. You know, there was just a lack of human rights-- a lack of sanitation.”
According to Daggans, conditions at the jail play a role in events like what took place last week.
“We’re not always as violent as people think," he said. "But if conditions is so improper or uncoordinated, then it only leaves room for people to be violent towards each other and cause this type of strife, you know these type of incidents that has taken place. No, it’s not all gangs.”
Daggans spent a total of 17 years behind bars in Parchman, a result of living a lifestyle he calls “a life of crime.”
“There was a time when I was radical, no understanding," he said. "In the streets, addicted back and forth, not going nowhere in life but in a circle of demolition, I call it.”
Daggans has since turned his life around, and now works to spread his message to others through his nonprofit ministry, Black Fist Ministry. This is something he believes he could do in prisons, too.
“Open those doors and let us go in and make a difference, man," he said. "You know give us a chance and an opportunity to communicate with these guys and show them what real true structure and vision is.”