About Mississippi Department of Corrections
The Mississippi Department of Corrections promotes public safety by providing state inmates with safe and secure correctional facilities, supervision, and rehabilitation services. The DOC's central office, state institutions, community correction institutions, regional jails, and private prisons have the American Correctional Association (ACA) accreditation. Due to the effort to gain this accreditation, ACA awarded MDOC with the ACA’s Golden Eagle Award in August 2008.
To achieve its mission, Mississippi DOC has several divisions which are mandated to perform various duties. For instance, the Division of Institutions is in charge of correctional facilities in the state. MDOC's Division of Institutions promotes public safety by confining adult felony adults. While serving in prison, the inmates are taken through treatment and educational programs to prepare them for life after prison. The Division of institutions is responsible for four state prisons, 15 regional correctional facilities, two private prisons, a training division, and the Administrative Remedy Program.
The MDOC’s Community Corrections Division supervises probationers and parolees serving in the community. Additionally, they are also responsible for the supervision of offenders in community work centers, restitution centers, earned release supervision, and the Intensive Supervision Program (house arrest). The Division consists of 9 community work centers, four restitution centers, technical violation centers, interstate compact, probation, and parole.
Mississippi Community Corrections Division Services
It's the work of the Community Corrections Division to provide offenders with reentry and rehabilitative programs. The goal of the Division is to promote a successful transition of offenders from correctional facilities to the community. In this regard, the Community Corrections Division consists of the following:
Community Work Centers
The community work centers are designed to provide inmates with work opportunities before being released from prison. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations provide the duties that the inmates perform. Inmates perform duties such as mechanical work, janitorial work, and roadside construction and beautification.
MDOC community work centers house about 100 inmates who are regularly drug tested and taken to work stations. The department houses female inmates in the Community Work Center in Flowood. Before the department takes an inmate to a community work center, the inmate must:
- Be remaining eight years or less before their release
- Pass an alcohol and drug test
- Be physically fit to perform the various duties
- Free of any rule violation for a minimum of three months
The MDOC restitution center program is an alternative to imprisonment for minimal risk offenders who requires a structured environment to reform their behaviors. Restitution centers' residents must pay room and board fees of $10 per day, court fees, payment to crime victims, and open a savings account. Additionally, the residents are expected to finish 40 hours of free community service.
MDOC currently has four restitution centers that house about 62 inmates. To be accepted at the restitution center, an offender must:
- Be a first-time offender
- Not have serious alcohol, drug, or emotional problems
- Be mentally and physically fit
- Have a sincere desire to take part in the program
- Be employable
The Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision is a signed agreement between eligible US jurisdictions that enables the interstate transfer of probationers and parolees. MDOC parolees or probation can apply for transfer to another state through their probation/parolee officer or correctional case manager. The individuals must complete several forms and pay a $50 application fee.
Intensive Supervision Program
This program is commonly referred to as house arrest. Only the judge can decide on a case-to-case basis who to send to ISP instead of a correctional facility. Offenders under the ISP are required to wear a monitoring device at all times and follow several guidelines like curfew, regular drug tests, etc.
Earned Release Supervision Program
The ERS program is based on inmates spending a portion of their time in incarceration and the rest on ERS. MDOC calculates the ERS date once the inmate arrives in a correctional facility. Depending on the inmate's behavior and other factors, the DOC confirms the ERS date and sends a letter to the inmate before the date.
Upon receiving the letter, the offender provides the department with the address they plan to live in during the release period. MDOC officials supervise the address and check for its suitability. Offenders in the following conditions cannot take part in ERS:
- Prisoners serving a life sentence
- Habitual/sex offenders
- Offenders who have either attempted or escaped from a correctional facility
ERS offenders are prohibited from leaving Mississippi and have to follow the set guidelines. Violating any guidelines may lead to arrest and return to prison.
The Mississippi Division of Treatment and Programs
Mississippi DOC’s Division of Treatment and Programs is mandated to provide the inmates with programs and services which rehabilitate the offenders and raise their success chances after release from prison. The Division provides such programs like:
The Division of Treatment and Programs provides Adult Basic Education (ABE) to inmates who lack a GED or high school diploma. ABE focuses on providing an instructional curriculum in language, mathematics, and arts. Additionally, it prepares the students to undertake the GED test and also assists the inmate in realizing their potential abilities.
Under the educational programs, the Division also provides male and female inmates with vocational education opportunities. Male offenders can engage in any of the following:
- Air conditioning/ refrigeration
- Auto mechanics
- Cooking and baking
- Vehicle and mobile equipment repair
- Industrial electricity
Female inmates in Mississippi DOC-managed facilities can enroll in the following vocation education programs:
- Business Technology
- Apparel and Textiles
- Family Dynamics
Inmate Work Crews
All state-run facilities provide inmates with an opportunity to provide labor to local governments and towns. For inmates to participate in the program, they must:
- Meet Minimum Custody status
- Be in a Regimented Inmate Discipline Program
The correctional facilities provide the community with free labor while engaging the inmates in a rehabilitative program.
Mississippi Prison Industries
The Mississippi Legislature established the Mississippi Prison Industries in 1990 to provide inmates with work programs. MPIC programs enable prisoners to gain skills, work experience and reduce recidivism upon release from imprisonment.
MPIC offers prison an opportunity to gain skills in:
- Wood Work
- Office furniture
- Parks and Recreational products
- Security products
- Metal fabrication
- Cement products
MPIC also runs a Transition Placement Training Center and Offender Placement Program to assist offenders in transitioning to society after serving their jail term.
Inmate Legal Assistance Program
ILAP or Inmate Legal Assistance Program provides all inmates under the Mississippi DOC with legal advice and assistance. The program ensures that inmates get a chance to meet with an attorney/paralegal to discuss their case. Additionally, it provides the inmates with computer-generated research or forms.
The state prisons have a director who provides legal advice to inmates in the county or regional correctional facilities and county jails within their jurisdiction. The Statewide director oversees the ILAP program and also offers legal consultation to offenders. Mississippi private facilities should also provide an attorney for legal advice and conferences.
The ILAP Director ensures that inmates have access to courts, legal materials, and legal advisors answer the inmates’ questions. It is imperative to note that ILAP only provides legal assistance for inmates' current charges, confinement lawsuits conditions, and post-conviction.
Inmates in need of assistance send their request to the ILAP office, which reviews and schedules an attorney visit for the inmate. The inmate must first provide the attorney’s names which ILAP verifies before accepting the visit.
Mississippi DOC Inmate Search
Mississippi runs a DOC offender locator, which the public can use to find where inmates are serving their sentences, among other relevant details about state offenders. This state prisoner lookup website provides the following details:
- Offender’s names
- The current facility housing the inmate
- Jail term
- Inmate’s criminal offense
The search criteria is either via the offender’s name or ID number.
Public members can also search for parolees in Mississippi via the Parolee Search website. The database provides details of the parolee, including the offense and location of the parole. Additionally, you can view the parolee officer supervising the parole, the inmate's race, and county of residence.
Mississippi DOC has an established online database where one can find information concerning the correctional facilities under its jurisdiction. The Facility Locations website outlines all the state, private, and regional facilities in the state. Further, it provides the location and contacts for community work centers and restitution centers.
Lastly, the department has an Area Locations website providing all the approved county jails locations and contact details. The database also provides the location and address information of all probation and parole offices across Mississippi counties.