It’s been a week since temperatures have gotten above freezing in the Mississippi Delta, and the cold temps and two winter storms have wreaked havoc on just about everyone, including the inmates and staff at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
Parchman, according to a relese from the Mississippi Department of Corrections this week, was “hardest hit” of all the system’s prisons.
That being said, inmates and staff have worked all week, MDOC said, to keep the roads clear and the interior warm at the state’s largest prison.
MDOC reported that a boiler in Unit 29 malfunctioned on Tuesday, but corrections officers moved about 20 inmates out of the area while the system was replaced and prisoners across the state were issued blankets and thermal clothing.
“But we may have done too good a job,” said Superintendent Tim Morris at Parchman. “Now some inmates on the upper tiers are complaining it’s too warm. We’re checking the temperatures every four hours to fill out official unit reports. We’re doing our best to equalize the climate control.”
MDOC says inmates helped clear roadways of ice and snow all week in the area, without any reported major medical conditions from the cold like hypothermia or chills.
MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain said in the release that he credits corrections officers for going above and beyond the call of duty by staying on the job and also traveling to help get stranded officers and maintenance crews out of the ice.
“Our new recruiting,” said Commissioner Cain, “has already begun restoring numbers to our daily shifts but more than that the new push has restored faith to those officers who for so long have been overworked. MDOC is being reinvigorated with a new mission to benefit officers, inmates, and facility crews with better conditions, better food, and better programs. It’s a ‘New Day, New Way and New Pay’ and I’m thankful for so many conscientious MDOC employees still working in all this ice.”