NYT: Chief Quits as Mississippi Prisons Face Inquiry

A federal lawsuit filed in 2013 by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union charged that at one state prison, the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, mentally ill prisoners were “locked down in filthy cells for days, weeks or even years.”

“Setting fires is often the only way to get medical attention in emergencies,” said the lawsuit, which is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

The prison, which houses about 1,400 inmates, is managed through a contract with the state by the Utah-based Management Training Corporation.

In 2012, a federal judge approved an agreement between the Justice Department and the state to implement an overhaul at another state jail, the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, where it was discovered that staff members had coerced inmates to have sex in exchange for food.