JACKSON, Miss. (WMC) - Republican Tate Reeves was sworn in as the 65th Governor of Mississippi Monday morning at the state capitol in Jackson. Intense rain forced the inauguration into the House Chamber.
Governor Tate Reeves talked about many issues facing Mississippi in his inaugural address including the corrections crisis where violence has broken out at prisons in the state.
Moments after taking the oath Tuesday Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves promised changes are coming to the state’s prison system.
“It will mean cleaning up corrections to provide for the safety of our citizens and the human dignity of all within the system,” said Reeves.
The governor’s comments follow violence and unrest in the state’s prisons that reached a fever pitch around the first of the year, resulting in lockdowns, escapes and even five deaths. Current MDOC commissioner Pelicia Hall, an appointee of former governor Phil Bryant, is leaving her post and will not serve in Reeves’ administration.
“Without stating the obvious, we are critically understaffed and that has to be addressed number one,” said State Rep. Bill Kinkade.
Kinkade’s district includes part of Desoto and Marshall Counties and last legislative session he was chairman of the Corrections Committee in the Mississippi House. He’s still waiting to see if he will be reappointed to that role but he tells me corrections reform must be a priority for Gov. Reeves and lawmakers -- that includes pay of correctional officers.
“Corrections is an agency that we have to rebuild for 21st-century corrections. We have to have a ladder of success for our security officers,” said Kinkade.
Reeves spoke for roughly 14 minutes in his inaugural address. He told teachers they’d get a raise. He said the state would better take care of foster kids. And he promised to offer more workforce training in Mississippi and vowed to grow the state’s economy.
“It must be the mission of our government to open the doors of generational opportunity to move people in our state, north and south, man and woman, black and white,” said Reeves.