Tell Mississippi officials to stop profit-driven prison abuse

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Teenagers and young men locked up at the youth prison in Walnut Grove, Mississippi live in a nightmarishly abusive and violent environment. The prison is privately-run, and its management has tried to increase their profits by cutting essential safety, health and educational services.

Mississippi shouldn’t be paying a private company to neglect and abuse youth prisoners. Please join us in demanding that Mississippi officials cancel the state’s contract with the company that operates the prison.

Below is the text of the petition we will send to Governor Haley Barbour and Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps:

Dear Governor Barbour and Commissioner Epps,

I’m writing to ask that you show leadership to correct a long pattern of abuse and mismanagement at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, where 1,200 young men endure excessive abuse and reckless supervision.

The situation at the Walnut Grove prison is unacceptable. Two youths have lost their lives there over the past three years and countless others endure daily threats to their safety. According to a federal lawsuit against the facility, guards have sold drugs to the youth there, engaged in sexual relationships with them, beaten them while they are handcuffed and defenseless, and looked the other way as some inmates are brutally attacked by others. The GEO Group, which runs the prison, continues to profit from tax-payer money while cutting essential safety, health and educations services at the facility.

You have the authority to remedy this public safety crisis. The state’s contract with the facility states that it can be terminated if the facility “poses a real, serious and imminent danger to the Inmates or the local community.” I urge you to cancel Mississippi’s contract with the GEO Group, and to implement a higher standard of conduct for correctional facilities in Mississippi.


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