Mississippi’s corrections system is currently in a state of emergency with inmate deaths and general chaos constantly being reported.
Yazoo County’s jail, which houses both county and state inmates, is no exception. Yazoo’s facility has been fortunate not to have any deaths recently, but it could have gone the other way. Recently the warden showed county officials a machete that was found during a random search of cells along with other makeshift weapons. It wasn’t long ago that the warden reported individuals breaking into the jail – that’s right, breaking in – to deliver contraband and let the good times roll.
And now the jail experiences the embarrassment of three guards being charged with having sexual relations with female inmates locked up in the jail.
Fixing Mississippi’s corrections system is not going to be an easy task. In our opinion part of the solution is going to require changing our attitude about how to deal with nonviolent drug offenders. Focusing more on getting them clean and giving them an opportunity to make restitution for their crimes would relieve pressure on our crowded jails and make it more likely that these offenders would become productive citizens again.
It’s also obvious that the state is going to have to find a way to increase the pay of corrections officers. Apparently it’s hard to find decent people at the wages currently offered.
It’s no surprise that many people who have better options aren’t interested in a potentially dangerous dealing with difficult people for low wages.
Maybe we’re just naive, but it is a surprise to us how many corrections officers are willing to risk ending up on the other side of the bars by doing things like sneaking in cell phones, drugs, alcohol and other contraband or having inappropriate relations with inmates. It’s hard to believe so many people are capable of being corrupted just because they’re making low wages. There are plenty of honest people making low pay in other fields.
This makes us appreciate thos honest corrections officers much more. Hopefully they’ll be rewarded for their hard work when the state focuses on fixing the problems.