South Mississippi Correctional Institution, Leakesville, Mississippi
March/April, 2017 (Exact Dates Uncertain)
Between 11 and 23 prisoners launched a hunger strike in protest of conditions at the prison, including extended lockdowns leading to lack of access to visitation and adequate recreation time. Wendy Houston, whose husband is one of the hunger strikers, stated that the number of prisoners on strike was 23, while the prison administration only reported 11.
According to a statement from the prisoners, they are “locked down 24 hours a day without a possibility of an outside recreation as the United States Constitution protects. Inmates must receive at least one hour a day, five days a week. This right hasn’t been abided by for several years.”
Prisoners also complained of lack of mental health treatment for prisoners. “Inmates (state) they would rather die than continue to be housed in South Mississippi Correctional Institution’s maximum security unit. Several inmates have even attempted suicide.”
Exact dates of the strike are uncertain. According to prison officials, the strike ended on April 5 after 11 days. But according to the Green County Herald, “Prison officials don’t classify an inmate refusing meals as a hunger strike until after 21 days.”
At the end of April, 2019, the Clarion-Ledger reported that prisoners at South Mississippi Correctional Institution had been on continuous lockdown for 4 months due to lack of staffing.
“Inmates say they’re on hunger strike to protest Leakesville prison conditions“, Clarion-Ledger, April 5, 2017.
“Official says hunger strike over at south Mississippi prison,” Green County Herald, April 5, 2017.
“Treated like ‘animals’: Lockdown at prison over guard shortage entering 4th month“, Clarion-Ledger, April 30, 2019.