The South Mississippi Correctional Institution was the only facility to provide PEER staff with all of the requested reports regarding visitor reports and bans.

Mississippi Joint Legislative PEER Committee has released its latest issue brief titled An Overview of Visitation Protocols at the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC).

The PEER staff selected a sample of 15 standards from the Performance-Based Standards and Expected Practices for Adult Correctional Institutions to determine if MDOC’s visitation policy and procedure was in conformity with the American Correctional Association’s (ACA) guiding principles for correctional facilities. PEER found that each of ACA’s 15 expected standards and practices outlined for visitation were found in MDOC policy and procedure.

PEER noted that visitation with an offender is a privilege offered by MDOC, stating that visitation can be denied, suspended, and/or revoked for both offender and visitor if MDOC policy and procedure for visitation is not followed by either the inmate or his or her proposed visitor.

The reports states that the PEER staff initially requested visitor ban records from the MDOC Central Office. However, the MDOC Central Office made the respective facilities responsible for supplying the data to PEER. Additionally, staff at the facilities reviewed for this issue brief stated that suspension/ban lists are provided to MDOC’s Central Office on a monthly basis.

The South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) was the only facility to provide PEER staff with all of the requested reports regarding visitor reports and bans.

PEER reports that from 2017 through 2022, 272 individual visitors were suspended (with one exception for a warning) from visiting SMCI with a total of 324 items or instances of contraband being confiscated from them.

According to PEER, all three facilities visited had varying measures in place to ensure that persons entering MDOC facilities would not pose a danger to offenders, staff, or the facility itself.

While none of the three facilities adhered strictly to MDOC policy and procedure regarding persons entering facility grounds, all three facilities took active steps to ensure that facility security would not be compromised.

You can read the full PEER report here.