State’s criminal justice system fails again

Published 6:27 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2020

An off-duty state trooper is dead and at least one of the suspects in the killing was under house arrest with the Mississippi Department of Corrections at the time of the slaying.

The suspect’s mother has said no one monitored her son’s activities while he was under house arrest for a grand larceny conviction.

No one from the MDOC responded to requests for comment on that accusation.

Meanwhile, the suspect also has a warrant for his arrest for a 2019 murder in Gulfport.

The trooper’s killing is just the latest in a string of violent crimes in southwest Mississippi that can be linked to suspects with histories of being in and out of the state’s criminal justice system.

The problems plaguing the MDOC are well documented, including that the state’s prisons are overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded, contributing to suspects being released before their time is served.

Suspects are innocent until proven guilty, but in this case, the suspect should have at the very least been under closer supervision while serving the remainder of his time on house arrest.

A similar incident occurred with a house-arrest suspect in 2018 when two Brookhaven police officers were gunned down.

That should have been a wake up call of the failure of Mississippi’s justice system, but it wasn’t.

Let’s hope this incident will be the final wake up call, that the prison system will be reformed and that such an event never happens again.