Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $4,000,000)
As a state governmental agency serving adult offenders in the State of Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) is submitting this application in response to BJA FY 23 Invited to Apply- Byrne Discretionary Community Project Funding/Byrne Discretionary Grants Program. This opportunity furthers the agency’s mission to enhance public safety by providing secure facilities and ensuring a safe and professional work environment for staff while bringing accountability, innovation, and fiscal responsibility to the citizens of Mississippi.
In recent years, the number of correctional officers employed with the agency has decreased resulting in staffing shortages which diminishes the level of security for offenders, as well as for staff assigned to work in facilities. Research indicates that contraband within the system among offenders appears to be positively related to circumstances in which there is prison overcrowding and understaffing. As correctional budgets continue to decrease and resources are further diminished, there is an alarming concern for correctional systems’ ability to adequately prevent, detect and respond to contraband within its facilities. Mississippi shares the growing concern for the safety and protection of its prison population and the need for additional officers.
The purpose of this project is to improve security at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF), MS Parchman (MSP), Marshall Correctional Facility (MCF), Walnut Grove Correctional Facility (WGCF), Delta Correctional Facility (DCF), and South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) by utilizing a video surveillance system to reduce the likelihood of contraband and even deaths within the facility. MDOC’s assessment of prison identifies the need for additional security measures to ensure safety and control which includes the prevention, detection, and response to acts involving contraband or violence by inmate-on-inmate or staff-on-inmate.
The proposed technology system will provide additional security by having the ability to monitor inmates and staff with the capability of system notification. The most judicious decision to increase the agency’s ability to provide the necessary increase in supervision and monitoring, considering the shortage of staff, is to deploy a video monitoring system to protect inmates against abuse.