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Monday, May 27, 2013

Prison Glossary- Mississippi Department of Corrections Hierarchy

The Department of Corrections (DOC) hierarchy can seem a bit confusing, but here are the basic positions, from top down:

Commissioner of MDOC- a politically appointed position, the Commissioner has the final say in the running of the Department and is its prime mouthpiece.
Deputy Commissioner- there are three of these positions: Institutions (DCI), Community Corrections (DCC) and Administration and Finance (DAF). They are a step down from the Commissioner and more involved in running the DOC, especially the DCI.
Superintendent- there are three State facilities (MSP, CMCF, SMCI) with one Superintendent each. They are responsible for the operation of their respective facility and answer to the DCI and the Commissioner.
Warden- appointed by the Superintendent, the Warden is responsible for their Area or Unit. They approve any in-house rules and such, but it is still basically a political position. Prisoners rarely speak or interact with a Warden.
Deputy Warden- usually one or two per Area or Unit, they are picked by the Warden and approved by the Superintendent. They are responsible for security plans and things like programs, and you see them more often than the Warden.
Assistant Warden- usually one or two per Area or Unit, they are picked by the Warden and approved by the Superintendent. More of the grunt work is delegated to them and they are seemingly on the same level as Majors and Captains.

The correctional officers are the ones that prisoners are in contact with every day and are the ones who truly have to implement any decisions that filter down from the top, and suffer any consequences that come from it. Their ranks from highest to lowest are:
  • Major- almost on the level of an administrative position, you don't see them often.
  • Captain- more visible than Majors, but seen only when they make their rounds.
  • Lieutenant- part of the staff you see daily, they are more hands-on.
  • Sargeant- usually work right along with your C.O.s, they are visible on a daily basis.
  • C.O.- technically every guard is a C.O., but the lowest ranks are referred to as C.O.s and are your grunt workers who get their hands dirty dealing with the prisoners.

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Steven Farris is a prisoner who has been incarcerated since a month after his 16th birthday in 1998. Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole, he is seeking to educate the public about the true nature of prison and the widespread and negative effects of the prison industrial complex. Steven has worked with both the National Prison Project of the ACLU, as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in furthering this effort.

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Steven Farris #R5580
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