Today, Governor Tate Reeves announced a major prisoner transfer from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman’s infamous Unit 29. He announced that the last inmates from Unit 29’s major housing facilities will be removed through this new agreement—fulfilling the promise from his State of the State Address to close Unit 29.
Inmates have been transferred from the unit through reclassification and exchanges for lower-security inmates since the Governor indicated his intention to remove them from the troubled unit. This major transfer deal allows the remaining inmates to be transferred to the nearby Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility.
375 inmates were transferred there during the initial surge of violence, and these remaining prisoners will be transported in the coming weeks. The physical transfer began this morning. This is a temporary housing solution to quickly and safely remove inmates from the environment at Unit 29 of Parchman, while a long-term solution is identified.
“We also need to remember why we’re doing all of this. We need a Department of Corrections that corrects criminal behavior. We need a department that prevents future violence or crimes. We don’t want anyone who leaves this system to return. We want them to go on to lead lives of purpose, meaning, and dignity,” said Governor Tate Reeves at a press conference to update the public on his efforts to reform the department. “Justice must be our focus—for all Mississippians. We have never forgotten that during our work to restore order, and it will be an ongoing effort throughout our time in office.”
The Reeves administration renegotiated the price for housing, achieving a nearly 5% reduction in the cost per prisoner. The inmates will now be housed at a rate of $62.50/day compared to the previous $65/day rate. Only death row—which is required by law to remain on the premises—and a support services building which helps maintain the rest of the prison will remain in operation.
The Governor also updated the public on efforts to rein in misspending at the department, find a permanent solution to the management crisis, reduce the prison population, and preventing recidivism.
Looking towards cleanup and recovery, the Governor announced that his family will join in the cleanup efforts around Central Mississippi.
“When disaster strikes, that’s when the true Mississippi spirit comes alive. When a fellow Mississippian is in need, we step up and lend a helping hand. Now as our neighbors, our friends, and our families look to pick up the pieces of their lives, we should all do our part to help. My family is ready to roll up our sleeves and help,” said Governor Reeves.
First Lady Elee Reeves is planning to lead a volunteer effort, joined by the Governor’s team and people from across Mississippi to pick up the trash left behind by this flood. More details will be available when the water fully recedes and it’s clear where the biggest impact can be made. Watch the First Lady’s social media accounts in the coming days for all the details.
Video of his remarks can be found here.