JACKSON, miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Disability Rights released a report in February after visiting and investigating the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) for two years. Their conclusion: The human rights of people with disabilities are violated by the lack of mental and health care.
“We have notified our state legislature, our governor. We have notified our facilities again, and at every opportunity we have encountered silence or indifference or neglect of the issues at those facilities, ”said Jane Walton, Mississippi Communications Director of Disability Rights.
The agency has overseen several MDOC facilities, with a focus on the most populous: the Mississippi State Penetiary, the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, and the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.
“We are not asking these facilities to be a Ritz Carlton, but when the state locks someone up they only take responsibility for basic care for those people and simply denying them basic health care is unconstitutional and” why we want to take action ” said Walton.
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The letter, issued last week, is intended to inform Governor Tate Reeves, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain that action is on the way.
“When we published our public report earlier this year, the Commissioner replied that everything would be fine by July. And we may see this as a lack of acceptance of the scope of the problem when we say it would be fixed by July, and it is now mid-July, ”said Walton.
In the letter, Disability Rights Mississippi said many inmates died because they were not treated for diseases such as cancer. Others had to perform emergency surgery or lost the use of their arms or legs for long periods of time. Those with mental illness are either denied medication or given medication with little to no follow-up care.
MDOC Commissioner Cain issued the following statement.
We welcome support from any organization that wants to help us improve conditions for prisoners and law enforcement officers. Our door is always open to ideas and suggestions from any group who will work with us to find real solutions and legal and private funding to improve the lives of everyone in Mississippi prisons.
Burl Cain, MDOC commissioner
A spokesman for Lt. Governor Hosemann said they did not receive the letter from Disability Rights Mississippi. 12 News also reached out to Governor Reeves and we are waiting for a response.