Mississippi State Senator Willie Simmons among Panelists to speak at USM Criminal Justice Forum

Mississippi State Senator Willie Simmons will join other panelists Thursday, March 30, at a Justice in the Mississippi State Penitentiary: Past Reflections, Present Challenges and Future Directions.   The forum, to be moderated by Alan Thompson, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice will address current conditions in the state’s prisons and efforts to reduce crime and recidivism. Panelists are: Willie Simmons, Mississippi State Senator; Leonard Vincent, Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) General Counsel; Dilworth Ricks, MDOC Victim Services director and R. Kim Rushing, author of Parchman. The family of former Superintendent Wiggins will also be in attendance. The Forum will be held in the International Center building auditorium, Rm 101 from 6 pm – 7:15 pm. 

The following morning, student and other volunteers will gather in the Cook library art gallery to for a reading and book-signing by R. Kim Rushing, author of the recent photography book on Parchman. There will also be readings of inmate letters and excerpts from Louis Bourgeois, Unit 30: New Writing from Parchman Farm, a recent collection of prison writing from Vox's Prison Writes Initiative (PWI) as well as a synopsis of victims’ letters presented by Dilworth Ricks. After the readings, volunteers will package the books that have been donated to Big House Books over the last month to mail to inmates in the Mississippi penitentiary system. The event will be held March 31, 10am.

These events conclude the exhibition currently installed at USM’s Cook library on the history of Parchman.

All events are free and open to the publicThis official bicentennial project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority.