FAMM is working in Mississippi to increase transparency and accountability within the states’ prison facilities by advocating for an independent oversight body. We’re also supporting efforts to reform the state’s “habitual offender” penalties which mandate decades of prison time and even life sentences for people with prior felony convictions.
FAMM’s work in Mississippi started in May 2019 when we asked the U.S. Department of Justice to open a formal investigation into Parchman State Penitentiary, after we received pictures of flooding, mold, and other deplorable conditions.
Parchamn is currently under federal investigation but we believe the facility is unfit for human habitation, and are asking the legislature to close the prison.
- If you’re from Mississippi, email your lawmakers and join us in asking the legislature to close Parchman Prison.
- If you’re outside of Mississippi, add your name to our petition asking the U.S. Department of Justice to close Parchman.
Independent Prison Oversight
FAMM believes that an independent oversight body can make Mississippi’s prisons safer and more humane for the people who reside and work in them, and more accountable and transparent to taxpayers.
Two bills (SB 2743 and SB 2756) introduced in 2020 would create an independent ombudsman’s office to 1) monitor and inspect all prison facilities, and 2) investigate unresolved complaints from incarcerated people, their families, and corrections staff regarding prison conditions and treatment of prisoners.
Habitual Offender Sentencing Reform
Mississippi’s habitual offender law is one of the harshest in the country and a driver of the state’s massive prison population. People sentenced under this law can see their sentences increase by decades, even up to life. Habitual offender penalties apply for both nonviolent and violent offenses, and restrict people from parole eligibility or earned time credits.
Three bills introduced in 2020 would remedy habitual penalties for some people.
HB 1122 would restrict the use of habitual offender penalties for nonviolent crimes and provide parole eligibility to people currently serving those sentences for nonviolent offenses.
HB 1024 and SB 2753 would limit the use of habitual offender penalties by counting only prior convictions that occurred within a specific time period, and allow some people currently serving habitual offender sentences to seek parole.