'Shut It Down!': The Fight to end Parchman Prison in Mississippi
Updated: Jan 20, 2021
'Shut It Down!'
As I walked over to the Mississippi Prison Reform Rally there was a lot to take in. Yes, it was a beautiful, crisp Friday morning and I hadn’t seen this much melanin at once in a while. It felt like home, but a home being torn apart over and over again. It felt good to be together, but not in this circumstance.
The Mississippi State Penitentiary also known as Parchman Farm opened in 1901 and has long been one of the most notorious prisons in America. The rally was held at the intersection of Mississippi and Congress Streets in Jackson and was hosted by Yo Gotti and Team Roc Nation after word of multiple deaths of Mississippi prisoners and conditions at Parchman made national news. Parchman is the oldest and only maximum security prison for men in the state. Women are not usually assigned to MPS, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility is the only state prison in Mississippi designated as a place for female prisoners. However, after hearing the victims speak, we now know that statement is untrue.
If you aren’t aware of the horrid/inhumane conditions of the men and women serving sentences in Parchman here are a few facts that we picked up from survivors of Parchman.
1. There are 6,000 people incarcerated, who could be released for non-violent crimes by the Governor, Tate Reeves.
2. There are 82 Juvenile offenders currently serving sentences in Parchman.
3. Men and women of Parchman are forced to live in their own waste, subjected to deteriorating cells, rats and rodents, as well as black mold.
4. Cell phones are deemed to be contraband and can be confiscated with other horrid consequences to follow. However, it’s noted that if the prisoners did not have this "contraband” the public would still have no clue how they are being treated.
-The Southern Poverty Law Center is currently asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to uphold a 12-year-prison sentence for a man named Willie Nash, who had a cellphone in jail after he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge.
-SPLC attorney Will Bardwell said Nash’s conviction should be reversed because he did not voluntarily bring his cell phone to jail.
While listening to all the affected persons speak, there were a few common denominators between them all: the mysterious health issues that later lead to death, no proper bathrooms inside the facility, and the below FDA standard “food” being served. Amongst the loved ones of the men and women being held captive in the less than livable facility, a few big names popped out to support and lend their voice in the fight for humanity: Dear Silas, FLYWLKR, Big K.R.I.T., J Prince, Yandy Smith, Murda Man and more.
“Don’t forget the feeling that you got right now, the fire that you got burning inside of you right now. Keep that feeling for tomorrow, keep it for next week!...”
“Being from Mississippi, I knew we were gonna be ignored anyway. It wasn’t on mass media, people weren’t talking about this. So I gotta do, what I gotta do to bring any kinda light… using my brand to let the world know what’s happening in my state. SHUT IT DOWN!”
"We not free until we ALL free!"
“Let’s shut this SH--T down!”
Ready to take immediate action? Start by texting “Parchman” to 225568 and let your voice be heard!