August is brutal in Mississippi, and more so if you’re stuck in prison with no air conditioning. Still, that doesn’t explain the extraordinary death toll in Mississippi correctional facilities during the month of August 2018.
Sixteen inmates died last month, more than tripling the average of five inmate deaths monthly. Most of these inmates apparently died from natural causes, but families have questions. Now the FBI is stepping in to investigate the situation.
The following 16 Mississippi inmates, aged 24-75, died in August
NBC News provided the most recent listing of deaths, as 12 people were originally reported as having died in the Mississippi correctional system in August until more deaths were confirmed.
- Aug. 2: Albert McGee, 57, serving a life sentence for murder; South Mississippi Correctional Institution
- Aug. 4: Charles R. MuCullough, 66, serving 10 years for burglary-larceny and assault; Mississippi State Penitentiary
- Aug. 4: Willie Hollinghead, 36, serving 10 years for selling cocaine; South Mississippi Correctional Institution
- Aug. 5: Robert Joseph, 38, serving three years for drug possession; Central Mississippi Correctional Facility
- Aug. 5: Jack Glisson, 70, serving a life sentence for murder; South Mississippi Correctional Institution
- Aug. 11: Ricky Martin, 58, serving 60 years for selling cocaine; Central Mississippi Correctional Facility
- Aug. 15: Lucious Bolton, 29, serving 14 years for burglary and gun possession; Mississippi State Penitentiary
- Aug. 18: James D. Myrick, 63, serving two years for fondling; Mississippi State Penitentiary
- Aug. 20: Nija Syvallus Bonhomme, 24, killed during a fight with an inmate while serving 20 years for armed robbery and burglary; Wilkinson County Correctional Facility
- Aug. 20: John Richard Luttrell, 67, serving 70 years for seven convictions, including two counts of attempted murder/homicide; Central Mississippi Correctional Facility
- Aug. 23: Nicole Marie Rathmann, 33, serving 10 years for selling meth; Central Mississippi Correctional Facility
- Aug. 27: Troy M. Pittman, 59, serving 30 years for sexual battery and sexual assault; Central Mississippi Correctional Facility
- Aug. 27: Tony Springer Sr., 75, serving six years for unlawful touching of a child; South Mississippi Correctional Institution
- Aug. 28: Curtis Hughes, 45, serving 25 years for meth sales and gun possession; Mississippi State Penitentiary
- Aug. 30: Earl King Davis, 55, serving 20 years for manslaughter and aggravated assault; South Mississippi Correctional Institution
- Aug. 31: Richard Beasley, 55, serving 28 years for burglary-larceny; Mississippi State Penitentiary
Central Miss & Southern Miss Correctional and Mississippi State Penitentiary
Of the 16 dead, five each were incarcerated at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, Mississippi State Penitentiary and South Mississippi Correctional Institution, and one was in a county jail.
Many family members still have no idea how their loved ones died.
The cause of Richard Beasley’s death, on the last day of the month, is unavailable because of pending autopsy results.
The father of Nicole Rathmann said he was not given information about his daughter’s death. The mother of three children was scheduled for release the week after her death.
Lucius Bolton died of stomach cancer, but his mother said prison officials wouldn’t tell her what hospital he was in so she could say goodbye.
Albert McGee, a diabetic, was found unable to breathe in his cell and later died in a hospital.
Of the sixteen dead, half of the people were black, and the other half were white. Rathmann was the only female inmate to die in August.
Mississippi Prisons Higher Than Average National Death Rate
Mississippi has long been known as one of the worst prison systems in the country. According to federal data, from 2001 to 2014, Mississippi had an average prison death rate of 324 per 100,000 inmates, far more than the national average of 255 deaths per 100,000 inmates.
The Climate Change Factor
The Republican party holds most offices in Mississippi, and Republican party leaders generally deny the reality of climate change. However, the director of the National Prison Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, David Fathi, says he hopes the investigation into the inmate deaths will consider climate change.
Fathi notes that the extreme heat normally found in the Deep South in the summer is getting worse, and it is becoming a growing concern for southern prisons. He cautioned about “jumping to conclusions” until it is known how each of the inmates died.
If your loved one died in prison under suspicious or unexplained circumstances we can help. We file federal civil rights lawsuits against correctional facilities to expose misconduct, medical neglect, and other atrocities. You may also be entitled to financial compensation. CALL US 866.836.4684 or Connect Online to learn your rights.