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Past time for state to properly fund prisons

News unfolding from the Mississippi Department of Corrections is unsettling to say the least.

State prisons were put on lock down Dec. 31 after an Adams County inmate Terrandance Dobbins, 40, was killed in a Greene County prison.

News filtering out of the state’s prisons in the aftermath of the killing gets worse and worse as a picture is beginning to emerge of prisons starved of adequate funding leading to all kinds of problems.

Lawmakers have been warned for years that underfunding the state’s correction system could lead to just the sorts of uprisings the prison system is experiencing.

If stories of unmanned guard stations, rancid food and squalid conditions inside state prisons is not enough to bring the story home, a look at the regular release of dangerous violent offenders who serve fractions of their sentences before being released back into the community to commit more crimes due to the lack of funding for the state prisons, should be.

The Mississippi Legislature has kicked this can down the road long enough in denying funding to adequately staff and run the state’s prison systems.

Perhaps the federal government should step in and force the legislators to do their jobs as the federal government did in 2018 when it closed state highways and bridges that had not been adequately maintained.

It would be easier, however, if the Legislature would do its job and find a way to fund the state’s corrections system.

The problem with the state’s prisons as it stands now is untenable.

The state’s taxpayers — and even the state’s convicted criminals — deserve better.

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