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Vicksburg Mayor to Lead National Search for Prisons Chief


JACKSON, MS (Ben Caxton) — Mississippi will conduct a national search for a new commissioner to lead the state prison system. The group will be led by former state lawmaker and Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs. Pelicia Hall has been corrections commissioner since 2017 but is leaving this month. More than two dozen Parchman inmates sued the state on Tuesday, saying understaffed prisons are plagued by violence and inmates are forced to live in dangerous conditions. Five inmates were killed between December 29th and January 3rd in violence inside the prisons; hundreds of prisoners were later moved from one unit to another unit at Parchman and 375 inmates were sent to a private prison in Tallahatchie County. State corrections officials are seeking an additional $67 million for the budget year that begins July 1 at the three state-run prisons to hire 800 more guards, raise guards’ starting salaries by $5000 per year and increase pay for current employees. Officials also are requesting $22.3 million to renovate Parchman’s Unit 29. Meanwhile, Congressman Bennie Thompson is asking a Sunflower County grand jury to investigate conditions at the state penitentiary.

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