“How can you sleep at night knowing that this is happening?”Hynefa Jones
On February 15, 2020, a prison reform rally will take place at The Park Along the River in New Albany, MS at 10AM – until.
This rally, according to organizer Hynefa Jones, is not only to advocate for prison reform across the state, but to also support the families of inmates currently incarcerated and the families of inmates who died while incarcerated.
“It’s personal for me,” says Jones. “Both my nephew and my brother were killed at Parchman. There are human lives at stake, and those who are responsible for these inmates’ death should be held responsible and punished, just as any other person should be.”
During the event, Jones and other individuals will be speaking out about their experience with Parchman and what happened to their family members, however, anyone impacted by the events at Parchman are encouraged to share their stories as well.
“Parchman cannot be reformed, I feel it needs to be shut down,” said Jones. She believes that there is much work to be done in order to bring change within the prison system as a whole:
- “There needs to be female guards for female inmates and male guards for male inmates. This can decrease conflict and increase security. A female guard may not be able to contain a male inmate the way a male guard could, let alone multiple inmates.”
- “If an inmate is eligible for parole, let them go home. Not saying this should be the case for all inmates, but if they have served their time and are deemed able to enter back into society, let them go home.”
- “There needs to be better living conditions. We understand that these people have committed crimes, but no one deserves to live in fear and sleep with one eye opened, worrying about being attacked or killed every night.
- “More background checks for staff members. Some of these people are being hired off of the streets, some are in gangs, and some simply have no training. Inmates are dying under their watch.”
This is not Hynefa’s first rally; she’s attended a number of rallies that have occurred across the state, including the rally held in Jackson, MS that was organized by rapper Yo Gotti and Team Roc. “I am grateful and thankful for celebrities like Jay Z, Yo Gotti, and Love & Hip Hop star Yandy Smith for speaking out. But I don’t want people to get to wrapped up in the celebrity attention that we forget what we are fighting for.”
Can’t make it to this Saturday’s rally? There will be more to come. “I definitely plan to continue. I won’t stop.”