Quality of Mississippi prison water at center of dispute

Mississippi News

FILE – This Tuesday, May 7, 2013 file photo shows an entrance to the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Miss. On Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council said longstanding problems with water and sewer systems are endangering inmates’ health at the prison. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two groups say longstanding problems with water and sewer systems are endangering inmates’ health at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council say Friday that the Department of Corrections and other state agencies must take action to correct the problems.

But, Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain says steps are already being taken to improve water and wastewater systems at Parchman.

The two groups sent a letter to agencies on Sept. 3 saying Parchman’s drinking water “is discolored, has a strong odor, and tastes of sewage or disinfectant.”

Cain says Parchman’s water is “absent” of bacteria.

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