Another prisoner has been reported dead in one of Mississippi's prisons, bringing the total of inmates dead at 15 since Dec. 29, with five dead in just over a week.
The latest prisoner, Jesus Garcia, 39, who had been serving a sentence of 20 years for capital rape, was found unresponsive in his cell at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility on Sunday, reports CBS News affiliate WJTV. Medical personnel were called and attempted life-saving measures, the prison reported in a press release.
Officials did not comment on Garcia's cause of death, but said there were no obvious signs of assault.
Most of the deaths in Mississippi's prisons since Dec. 29 have happened at the State Penitentiary at Parchman, the oldest prison in the state. The prison houses only male offenders classified as protective custody, administrative segregation, or death row.
Two of the 15 prisoners died of hanging, but the prisons said most of those dead lost their lives during gang-related violence.
Another inmate tried to hang himself on Friday, reports The Associated Press, but a state trooper cut him down.
Most of the violence has been happening inside the notorious Unit 29 at Parchman, a multi-unit section that remained without heating or plumbing after several of the state's prisons were locked down.
The violence has brought attention to the substandard conditions inside the state's prison. Team Roc, a group connected to Jay-Z's company Roc Nation and rapper Yo Gotti, has sued state prison officials on the behalf of more than two dozen inmates, and other critics say a guard shortage has left facilities open to gang and other violence.
The lawsuit says the state's prisons don't provide basic necessities and force inmates to live among flooding raw sewage, rodent infestations and more.
Gov. Tate Reeves has ordered the closure of Unit 29, saying he has "seen enough."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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