BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - As state prisons continue to be on lockdown after a week of violence, family members and friends of inmates – as well as some inmates themselves – are feeling helpless and frightened.
Evelyn Green of Biloxi said since the violence began throughout the state’s prisons, she’s been obsessed.
She can’t put her phone down, looking at images and texts about the violence, hoping that her friend, an inmate at Parchman, stays safe.
“I’m scared,” she said. “I’m scared for all of them. Scared for the families. Scared for the friends.”
Mississippi Department of Corrections reports that five inmates have died in state prisons since Sunday.
Three of the five deaths have occurred at Parchman, and officials contribute four of the five to violent disturbances.
“It’s a war against each other, a war against the correctional officers. It’s a war zone," she said.
Officials said gangs are involved, and a state inmate from the Coast, whose identity is being withheld over safety concerns, agreed.
“It’s 100% gang-related,” he said.
He said other conditions are in the mix, including living conditions.
“It’s just like, you put a dog in a kennel for so long, and you keep him in there and you keep rattling the cage, you don’t want to feed him what you’re supposed to. You let that dog out and he’s going run laps around that yard and chew up everything and tear up everything.”
“They want their voice to be heard,” Green said. “Their living conditions – it’s inhumane. The way they are being treated. They are sleeping in feces. There’s molded food.”
The fear is constant.
“I haven't had a shower in eight days right now,” the inmate said. “ I don’t even know when the next time I’ll get a shower. Matter of fact, if they open these doors tonight for me to take a shower, I wouldn’t even go out there because I’d be afraid for my life.”
He worries the violence won’t end anytime soon.
“Even if they bring all the manpower they have at the facility itself, it’s not enough. It’s not enough to run it, much less stop any type of crisis or emergency situation. Something has to happen, man, because not only am I afraid for my life, but I’m a human being, man. I know I’m here for doing wrong. But I don’t want to see anybody die.”