From [HERE] Prisoners are dying at the highest rates the state of Mississippi has ever seen. Thirteen prisoners have died behind bars in the month of August alone. That’s compared to 47 prisoner deaths in Mississippi in the entire year of 2015.
Prison officials insist the deaths are by natural causes. But advocates and family members are demanding answers for the shocking spike in prisoner deaths, including the killing of 24 year-old Nija Syvallus Bonhomme at the privately run Wilkinson County Correctional Center in southwestern Mississippi. Bonhomme died in his cell after what officials say was a fight with another prisoner. But his family says that the prison failed to protect him from violent conditions that led to his death, allowing him to return to his cell after a violent altercation with his cellmate. His sister told Democracy Now!, “They threw him back to the dogs.” We speak with Jody Owens, director and managing attorney of the Mississippi office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, part of a recent lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections alleging grave abuses of prisoner rights at a private prison.