The Mississippi Department of Corrections has enlisted the help of the FBI after 15 inmates died last month. According to Pelicia E. Hall, the head of the MDOC, while the number of deaths is alarming, many of them are due to natural causes.
Earlier last week, it was initially reported 12 inmates died while in police custody, three more names were then added to the list, which prompted the FBI to investigate.
“While we believe that most of the reported deaths during the month of August are from illnesses or natural causes, such as cancer and heart disease, based on available information, we are seeking assistance from others outside the department in the interest of transparency,” Hall said in her statement.
Hall continued and said, “the number of deaths the department is reporting is not out of line with the number of deaths in previous months.” In 2013, 71 inmates died, the following year 53 inmates died and in 2015 47 inmates passed.
The states’ prison population 19,425, according to Hall, is made up of “people from all walks of life and with all types of pre-existing conditions.”
According to CNN, one of the 15 inmates who died did not die from natural causes. The cause of death for each inmate is pending an autopsy.
The 15 prisoners are each from different correctional facilities. Five were from Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and another three were from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. An additional five were from South Mississippi Correctional Institution and one was from Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.