Reported prisoner deaths in August now up to 16

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Mississippi Department of Corrections

Richard Beasley

At least sixteen prisoners died in Mississippi prisons last month, per latest reports.

Richard Beasley, 55, was pronounced dead at 5:55 a.m. on Aug. 31, 2018, at Allegiance Specialty Hospital in Greenville, according to a statement uploaded to the Mississippi Department of Corrections website Tuesday.

Beasley was housed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. He was sentenced to 28 years for burglary-larceny on November 20, 2012, in Lee County.

The manner and the cause of death are pending an autopsy, according to MDOC.

Between 2012-2017, MDOC reported an average of 4.5 inmate deaths per month — no more than 11 in any given month. Prior to this year, the state averaged five prisoner deaths in the month of August.

Last week, top prisons official Pelicia Hall said in a statement that she had called upon both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the state’s Department of Public Safety to conduct investigations into the deaths.

The Department of Corrections has previously maintained that most of the deaths are due to natural causes.

Read the rest of Mississippi Today’s coverage of last month’s spike in prison deaths here.