MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Over the weekend two more inmates died in prisons in Mississippi bringing the total number of deaths in 2020 to 12.
Nine of those deaths happened at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
Those two recent deaths came this weekend and follow a rally Friday in Jackson to call attention to the conditions inside Mississippi prisons. New governor Tate Reeves has announced a nationwide search for a new director to lead the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Officials with Management and Training Corporation, a Utah contractor that runs three prisons on behalf of the state of Mississippi said 38-year-old inmate Jermaine Tyler died in custody Saturday night at the Marshall County Correctional Facility. A spokesperson said there were no signs of foul play.
Sunday morning the Sunflower County Mississippi coroner confirmed the death of 26-year-old Joshua Norman at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman.
The coroner said Norman was found hanging in his cell.
Over the past month, 12 inmates have died in custody of Mississippi prisons. Officials said many of them were attributed to violence but some died of suicide or natural causes.
WMC Action News 5 investigated conditions inside MTC’s Marshall County Correctional Facility last April after a security guard was attacked. Cell phone video provided to us showed a guard bloodied and a fire raging out of control.
At a rally Friday outside the Mississippi State Capitol, protesters called for the state to shut down the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman where nine of the inmates who died were housed.
Democratic lawmakers said Friday staff shortages and low pay have made that facility and others in the state dangerous for guards and inmates amid years of underfunding and neglect.
The toilets full of waste plumbing torn out of the wall, you got people working in there," said Rep Robert Johnson. “Women working two women to 128 people in prison. That’s not how you run anything.”
New Governor Tate Reeves has said restoring order in the state’s prisons is being taken very seriously by his administration.