Continuing with WhyIHateCCA’s guest author series, I present this first-hand account of a father’s struggle to find his son, who was lost in the Mississippi system after suffering brain damage in a riot at the GEO-Group operated Walnut Grove Correctional Facility. Walnut Grove is currently the target of a lawsuit by the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center over deplorable conditions and abhorrent violence.
by Michael McIntosh
On a normal visitation day, I was told by the Walnut Grove (WG) staff that my son, who had been there for 3 months, was no longer at the facility. Walnut Grove is a private juvenile detention center operated by the GEO Group for the Mississippi Department of Corrections. When I reached out for more information of where my son was, they consistently denied knowledge of his whereabouts. How could a child placed in the custody of the MDOC disappear?
After not getting any assistance from WG staff, I was referred to the Warden, who refused to tell me about my son’s whereabouts. After 2 1/2 weeks of MDOC and WG passing the buck back and forth and playing games, I took matters in my own hands and started my own investigation. I realized that they did not care about the well being of my son, nor did they care about me knowing his status. I found out that my son was in the hospital, but no status information was given. I called MDOC and asked the medical department about my son’s status to which I received no response.
A few days later, an MDOC chaplain called to help me with visitation to my son. After 5 1/2 weeks of searching, visitation was granted to me to see my son, but they had moved him to another facility. A new visitation order was granted for a two-hour visit, in which I was only able to spend a half hour with my son. The reason this happened is because I questioned the head nurse about the status of my son; because of her attitude, she called security and told them she felt threatened and needed assistance. Security came to assist her, but it was not the 24-hour security that was already in his room, but rather hospital security. The security officer told me I had to leave, that visitation was over. Keep in mind that this was more than a month after the incident.
The next day I called the chaplain back, explained what happened and asked for another visitation with my son. On Friday of the following week the head doctor of MDOC called and I was told no further visitation will be granted and the visitation that I was granted was done as a favor to me. I was forced to wait until my son was granted visitation rights by MDOC. My son was transferred to Parchman hospital where he received no medical treatment.
After four to six weeks, he was released from the Parchman hospital, and he was transferred to a drug and alcohol facility at Parchman though he does not have a problem with either. He has yet to receive treatment that addresses his injuries even though many request have been made for treatment. He is an underage inmate at Parchman, put there and left there so that this incident would not be known. My son had been assaulted in a riot at the Walnut Grove YCF in which he received brain damage, but has still not received proper medical treatment for what he experienced