1 inmate killed in southwestern Miss. prison fights

News Briefs From Across The State

By Monica Land

23 inmates injured in fight last June

A prison official says that one inmate has died and several were injured in fights at a prison in southwestern Mississippi that resulted in the facility being put on lockdown.

Wilkinson County Correctional facility spokeswoman Angela Smith says one inmate died after fights broke out Saturday morning at the Woodville prison. Smith says that there were multiple fights starting around 10 a.m. The fights were quelled by around noon.

Nine inmates were taken to area hospitals for injuries. The prison was put on lockdown for at least several hours. Smith says the public was never at risk.

Twenty-three inmates were injured last June after multiple inmate fights broke out at the same prison resulting in a lockdown.

The 1,000-bed facility with all male Mississippi inmates is run by Corrections Corporation of America.

Fire destroys several Hattiesburg apartments

Authorities say a fire has

destroyed several apartments in Hattiesburg and one firefighter had a minor injury.

Hattiesburg Fire Chief David Webster tells WDAM-TV that none of the residents were injured in Friday night’s fire, which gutted nine apartments.

Webster says the fire may have begun in the attic of one of the apartments and quickly spread to the others, destroying the roofs and causing major damage to other areas.

He said nearly two dozen firefighters worked until the early morning hours battling the blaze.

Webster also said an investigation into the exact cause of the fire will begin Monday morning, with the assistance of the State Fire Marshal’s office.

Miss. Dept. of Mental Health could get budget cut

Several Mississippi House members say they want budget writers to restore more than $6 million that could be cut from the Department of Mental Health for the coming year.

The House and Senate face an April deadline to agree on a $5.5 billion spending plan for all of state government. Fiscal 2014 begins July 1.

Democratic Rep. Bo Eaton of Taylorsville said Wednesday that people who are mentally ill or mentally disabled don’t have high-paid lobbyists working on their behalf, but they need state support.

House Public Health Chairman Sam Mims, a Republican from McComb, says the proposed $6 million cut to mental health would be a 2.8 percent reduction. He says that with limited money, budget writers have to make tough choices.

Southern Miss honors Connor 

Peggy Jean Connor (Photo courtesy of Southern Miss Archive Library)

Peggy Jean Connor was honored by the University of Southern Mississippi in March for her work during the civil rights movement in Mississippi.

Connor, of Hattiesburg, was honored by the Committee on Services and Resources for Women. The CSRW’s Research Award was named after Connor. The event was part of USM’s recognition of Women’s History Month.

Connor was state executive secretary of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), treasurer of the COFO-Hattiesburg Project, and a MFDP delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1964. She also taught citizenship classes in local churches, despite the danger of violence from those opposed to desegregation and the actions of civil rights workers.

She worked alongside civil rights legends Fannie Lou Hamer and fellow Hattiesburg native Victoria Gray.

Carroll Co. hopes to collect $500K in unpaid fines

Carroll County has hired a collection agency to attempt to recover $500,000 in outstanding fines owed to the justice court.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that the board of supervisors signed a contract this week with American Municipal Services of Carrollton, Texas.

Deborah Sivira told supervisors her company has been very successful in collecting money for 80 cities and counties in Mississippi. Supervisor Terry Herbert says the county had hired collection agencies in the past without much success.

Under the agreement, American Municipal Services will collect the fine plus 25 percent, which is the amount the agency will receive for its work.

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