PARCHMAN, Miss. — Loved ones reach out for help after seeing photos and videos of what appears to be unspeakable living conditions at a Mid-South prison.
FOX13 has received dozens, if not hundreds of calls and messages after violent riots began inside the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman late last week.
We took several of those calls and spent Monday speaking with loved ones of inmates.
Families told us they still haven’t gotten any official word regarding whether or not their family members are safe.
MDOC told us three inmates died inside Parchman following those riots, but the loved ones I spoke to today said they know that number must be higher.
Videos taken by the inmates have circulated online and show men being stabbed, bodies lying in cells, and another man that hanged in his cell.
These families are begging for answers.
“If you haven’t heard from the morgue, then your family member is okay,” said Danielle Lamb, family is in Parchman prison.
Inmates killed, battered, and bruised inside Parchman prison following deadly riots that have crippled Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Families on the outside said they are being left in the dark, forced to fear the worst.
“He only has months before he gets out and he’s scared for his life,” said one family member.
Even on the outside, family members live in fear, and asked that their identities be protected.
They told us the riots started as a gang war between the Vice Lords and the Gangster Disciples.
Photos and videos allegedly taken from inside the prison show bodies piled into cells and floors covered in blood.
“The guards are corrupt,” a family member said. “That’s how they’re getting in the street knives, that’s how they’re getting in the cell phones.”
“They’re paying them $500-600 to get the cell phones in. It’s horrible down there.”
Parchman Farm is made up of dozens of cell blocks spread out over thousands of acres.
In fact, we are told escapees rarely ever make it off property before they’re captured.
“As an inmate, you still have Constitutional Rights,” Lamb said. “The 8th one to be exact prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. I feel like that’s exactly what’s going on at this prison.”
According to MDOC, five inmates died in riots statewide. Three of those were at Parchman.
According to a tweet from Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Highway Patrol and Emergency Management personnel were sent in to the prison to restore order at the prison and located the escaped inmates.
Both have now been captured.
When we reached out to MDOC for comment on the social media videos and the allegations regarding the living conditions, they told us:
“The department is not confirming the authenticity of videos or photos circulating, especially those being passed to family members from social media.
The needs of the inmates at Parchman are being met.
This office is extremely busy in responding to media requests. Therefore, your request for an interview cannot be granted.”— MDOC
Both these families said they know their loved ones aren’t supposed to have cell phones on the inside, but said without them, they never would have known just how bad things are inside the prison.
“If they’re jeopardizing their cell phones or jeopardizing extra time or that kind of thing, it has to be really bad. For them to post stuff all over social media, and not care, it’s like they’re begging for help," said Lamb.
They told us MDOC’s focus has been to locate the cell phones and not on the inmates’ health and safety.