The Marshall Project

No-Show Prison Workers Cost Mississippi Taxpayers Millions

Prisoners, guards face danger from chronic understaffing by MTC

When Darrell Adams showed up for an overnight shift at the Marshall County Correctional Facility in rural Mississippi, he was one of six officers guarding about 1,000 prisoners.

Adams said he thought that was normal; only half-a-dozen guards had been turning up each night during the three months he’d worked at the prison, which is run by Management & Training Corporation. He didn’t know the state’s contract with MTC required at least 19 officers.

On April 3, 2019, Adams escorted a nurse to deliver medicine in a unit where the most dangerous prisoners were held in solitary confinement. The contract required a sergeant and an officer to be there at all times. But that night, Adams and the nurse said, he was the sole guard working the unit, and was also covering for six absent officers in three other buildings.

As Adams was leaving the unit, a prisoner slipped out of his cell, sneaked up behind Adams and smashed his head into the steel door frame. As the nurse watched in horror, the prisoner dragged Adams inside the cell block, shut the door and beat him unconscious.

Prisons across the country, both public and private, are But the circumstances that led to the attack on Adams illustrate a perverse

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