Mississippi State Penitentiary - Location and Composition - Inmate Housing Units

Inmate Housing Units

Six units currently house prisoners. Units which currently function as inmate housing include:

  • Unit 25
    • In the mid-2000s Unit 25 had the Pre-Release/Job Assistance Alcohol and Drug Therapeutic Community After Care Program, which had 48 beds. The program was for offenders who are about to be released from prison.
  • Unit 26
    • Units 26, 27, and 28, which in total have a capacity of 388 people, together had a price tag of $3,450,000.
  • Unit 29
    • Unit 29, a 16-building medium security complex, opened in 1980 and designed by Dale and Associates. Unit 29 houses all male death row inmates in MDOC.
    • The building, which was under construction in the 1970s and originally had a capacity of 1,456, had a construction cost of $22,045,000. In 2000 a prisoner riot occurred at Unit 29, leading to some injuries. Renovations occurred in 1998, including the conversion of dormitory units into cell units. Unit 29 is the primary farming support unit of MSP. It has 1,561 beds, which house minimum, medium, and close custody inmates. The unit is the prison's largest in terms of prisoner capacity. In the mid-1990s Unit 29 was the main maximum security camp for the population. Most inmates started their stays in Unit 29, and almost every prisoner went through the unit. Renovations of Unit 29 in the financial year of 2000 added about 240 beds. Carrothers Construction did phase I of the renovations for $20,278,000. By 2001 MDOC built a kitchen and had converted half of Unit 29's open bay dormitories to individual cells; together the changes had a price tag of $21,760,284 of U.S. Department of Justice grant money. Unit 29-A houses the A&D Treatment Program for Special Needs program, which is for prisoners with HIV/AIDS who are more than 6 months and within 30 months of their release dates.
  • Unit 30
    • Unit 30 is the education and drug treatment facility. It was designed by Dale and Associates. Unit 30, a part of the Alcohol and Drug Therapeutic Community Treatment Centers (ADTC-TC), has 480 beds. Unit 30 has two housing buildings, A and B, and each building has two housing zones, A and B. Each zone houses 108 prisoners. Previously each zone housed 120 prisoners.
  • Unit 31
    • Unit 31 serves as the unit for inmates with severe disabilities. The unit includes a 12 week alcohol and drug program based on principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Unit 42
    • Unit 42, the prison hospital, has 54 beds. In terms of capacity it is the smallest residential unit. The prison hospital serves female inmates throughout the MDOC system. In December 2009 MDOC opened the Compassionate and Palliative Care Unit, a hospice for dying prisoners, in the hospital.

MDOC classifies 13 units as "closed housing units." All of the units in the prison which formerly housed prisoners and no longer function as inmate housing include:

  • Unit 4
  • Unit 10
    • Units 10, 12, and 20, which together housed 300 people, together had a total cost of $1,000,000.
  • Unit 12
    • Unit 12 had the pre-release operations.
  • Unit 15, Building B
  • Unit 16
    • The unit, with a capacity of 68 people, was built in the 1970s for $3,000,000.
  • Unit 17
    • Unit 17 houses the execution chamber for condemned inmates. A condemned prisoner is transferred to a holding cell next to the death chamber 48 hours before the scheduled time of his or her execution. Cell No. 14 is used to house inmates prior to execution. The execution chamber is a 10-foot (3.0 m) by 15-foot (4.6 m) room.
    • Unit 17 is west of Guard Row. It is a one story building with a flat roof. Reilly Morse of the Institute of Southern Studies said that dirt surrounded the unit, and no vegetation was present.
    • In 1961 the State of Mississippi incarcerated Freedom Riders in the unit. Unit 17's prisoner housing was closed on October 25, 2004. At one time the 56-bed Unit 17 housed the prison's death row.
  • K-9
  • Unit 20
  • Fire House
  • Unit 22
    • Units 22 and 23 and the prison hospital, which in total have a capacity of 324 people, together had a price tag of $1,850,000.
  • Unit 23
  • Unit 24
    • The unit, with a capacity of 192 people, was built in the 1970s for $2,250,000. Unit 24E and Unit 25 in total had a capacity of 352 people, and they had a total cost of $1,750,000. The total construction cost of all of Unit 24, constructed in 1975, is $3.6 million. The unit had 192 single cell medium security beds. The facility has two stories and three housing zones, each having 64 beds. Zones A and B housed special needs prisoners who were receiving mental health care. Zone C had general population A and B security level prisoners.
  • Unit 27
    • In the 1990s Unit 27 was the protective custody facility. Richard Rubin, author of Confederacy of Silence: A True Tale of the New Old South, noticed that most of the prisoners in Unit 27 were White, while overall in MSP most prisoners were Black.
  • Unit 28
    • In the mid-2000s Unit 28 was the facility for the A&D Treatment Program for Special Needs program, which is for prisoners with HIV/AIDS who are more than 7 months and within 30 months of their release dates. The program began as a therapeutic community in April 2002; previously the program was a 12 week program. Historically Unit 28 was the housing where HIV positive offenders were segregated into. In 2010 the MDOC Commissioner, Christopher B. "Chris" Epps, said that MDOC, beginning in May, would no longer segregate HIV offenders. By August 2010 Unit 28, which had 192 beds, closed.
  • Unit 32
    • Unit 32, a 34.8-acre (14.1 ha) prison unit, was the designated unit of housing for maximum security and death row convicts., and Unit 32 served as MSP's lockdown unit. Unit 32, designed by Dale and Associates, has "Supermax" cells.
    • The U32 housing facility has five two story housing facilities, a recreation building, and external structures such as gun towers. Each housing building has 200 cells and 82 square feet (7.6 m2) of living space. Each housing building was made of precast concrete, and 6,700 cubic yards of concrete and 500,000 pounds (230,000 kg) of reinforcing steel were used to build each housing building. Building A (Alpha Building) served as the maximum security area. Building B (Bravo Building) also housed closed custody prisoners. Building C (Charlie Building) served as death row. Unit 32 was intended to reduce maintenance necessities by using durable structure and equipment and to allow prison administrators to establish a high level of control over U32's residents. The 18.8-acre (7.6 ha) Unit 32 Support Facility houses administrative offices, a canteen, medical services, a library, and a visitation area. With Unit 32 closed, Parchman has about 1,000 empty spaces for prisoners. MDOC has continued to maintain Unit 32 so the state can house contract prisoners there.
    • The $41 million unit opened in August 1990, increasing MSP's maximum security bed space by over 15 percent; during that year Mississippi officials said that the prison needed more maximum security space after Unit 32's opening. Prior to Unit 32's opening, MSP had 56 "lockdown" cells for difficult prisoners. By 2003 the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of six inmates, alleging poor conditions in Unit 32's death row. In 2007 three inmates in Unit 32 were murdered by other inmates in a several month span. During that year a guard at Unit 32 said that under-staffing contributed to the security lapses. In 2010 MDOC and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reached an agreement to close Unit 32 and transfer prisoners to other areas. Mentally ill prisoners in the unit will be transferred to the East Mississippi Correctional Facility near Meridian, Mississippi.

Read more about this topic:  Mississippi State Penitentiary, Location and Composition

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