It’s 28 minutes from Clarksdale to Parchman, but to many in this community it it might as well be Mars.
Consider yourself fortunate if you have never been incarcerated or if you have never had a family member or friend locked away in Mississippi’s state penitentiary.
But also consider that there are many people living in Clarksdale -- mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and even sons and daughters -- who do have someone doing time in Parchman.
Events at Mississippi flagship prison over the past month have shocked even those who do live light-years away from the reality of Parchman.
At least 12 inmates have died in Mississippi prisons during the past month, including two this past weekend, and most of the deaths have occurred at the Parchman state penitentiary.
There have been escapes and yes, those escapees headed north after they broke out. That fact alone should prompt this community to demand something be done.
It is obvious the state’s prisons are understaffed and plagued by gang violence. It’s also evident that the condition of facilities are unsafe, unsanitary and unstable. Inmates are forced to live in horrible conditions that breed anger and violence.
Your Clarksdale Press Register will be the first to say, we don’t want luxury at any of our state prisons, but we do believe our state and decent human beings want those incarcerated in a safe, clean and certainly sound and secure place.
There is a letter from local lawmakers across the page from this editorial. We hope those lawmakers will find others in the legislature willing to step up and fund and fix the mess that is Mississippi’s prison system.
There are things that can be done -- things that must be done -- to correct Mississippi’s prison problem.
Your Clarksdale Press Register urges you to contact your elected officials in Jackson with your concerns. We urge you to also offer solutions and be willing to serve on boards or agencies that oversee our prisons.
The Mississippi Delta is dotted with prisons. It’s time for this community and this region of the state to step up and demand change.