MDOC responds to video of prison guard attack at correctional facility

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Apr. 8, 2019 at 6:01 PM CDT
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MARSHALL COUNTY, MS (WMC) - The Mississippi Department of Corrections issued its first and only response to a video of a violent incident inside the Marshall County Correctional Facility.

The video shows the aftermath after a prison guard was attacked by an inmate. The guard is seen on the floor bleeding from a head injury as inmates jeer.

Officials believe the video was captured on inmates’ cell phones and was posted to social media.

MDOC’s reaction comes as new concerns are being raised about staffing at the facility. Multiple sources have indicated to WMC5 that there are staffing concerns at the Marshall County Correctional Facility.

A woman who lives nearby and used to work there said she has seen the video of last week’s attack, and it has her worried.

“That video is just horrible,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified. “A life could've been taken.”

She lives a stone’s throw away from the prison in Holly Springs. She worked there for six months before being let go a few years ago.

“They were always shorthanded, they had most people in there working like a dog,” she said.

Cell phone video surfaced last week matching the details of an incident that ended Wednesday night with a guard hospitalized and part of the prison on fire. You can see the guard bloody and the flames raging.

Bill Kinkade is chairman of the Mississippi House Corrections Committee and lives in Byhalia. He said all details of the incident are under investigation.

The facility is run for the state by Management and Training Corporation, a for-profit prison operator in Utah. The contract between MTC and the state extends from 2012 until 2022.

WMC5 got a copy from our sister station WLBT in Jackson, Mississippi, but the state redacted the portions of the contract that lay out staffing requirements and never explained why.

A spokesperson for MTC responded to our Friday requests on Monday at 6:01 p.m. with this statement:

MDOC and MTC continue their investigation into the assault on April 3, 2019. Since the investigation is still open, we are unable to provide any additional details beyond what was previously provided.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections sent a brief statement late Monday afternoon, three days after WMC5 inquired, writing the April 3 assault on the correctional officer is under investigation but didn’t offer any details.

The agency tweeted Friday night the commissioner supports legislation to jam cell phones in prison.

The WMC Action News 5 Investigators are working to find out more about the circumstances surrounding last week's attack.

We’ve filed a public records request with the Mississippi Department of Corrections and await the outcome of what Chairman Kinkade described as an internal investigation.

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