Prison lockdowns, high-ranking high schools and shrimp: Last week on the Coast

Missed the big stories last week? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

South Mississippi inmates on extended lockdown

More than half of the inmates at a south Mississippi prison have spent 23 hours a day in their cell and haven’t had visitors in three months, reports the Clarion-Ledger.

Nearly 1,800 inmates at The South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville are on extended lockdown because there aren’t enough officers in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Family members of those imprisoned in Leaksville allege their loved ones deal with inhumane conditions including black mold on walls, leaking pipes and abusive treatment by security officers.

MDOC Commissioner Pelicia Hall said that restricting the inmates moving is necessary under these staffing conditions. She added that if information was brought to MDOC and any inappropriate treatment was discovered, the department would handle it.

MDOC spokeswoman Grace Fisher added that the department is looking to hire 500 correctional officers, and is accepting applications.

Three Coast high schools rank in the top 10 of the state’s best

Three Mississippi Coast high schools are among the ten best in the state, according to rankings from the U.S. News & Report.

The top-ranked school on the Coast is Pass Christian High, ranked at No. 3 in the list. Ocean Springs High School took the No. 7 spot, and Gulfport High is No. 10, according to the report.

Eleven high schools are ranked within the best 51 schools in the state. Did yours make the list?

Shrimp season extended

Mississippi’s shrimp season was extended until Friday, May 10 at 6 a.m.

The extension applies to Mississippi territorial waters south of the Intracoastal Waterway and west of the Gulfport Ship Channel, according to the Associated Press.

Waters north of the intercoastal remain closed, and waters east of the Gulfport Ship Channel and south of the Intracoastal Waterway are open to year-round.

Felons with drug convictions can now get federal food aid

Some 67,000 Mississippians with felony drug convictions could soon become eligible for food assistance.

The state legislature voted to opt out of a federal rule preventing those felons from receiving the benefits, the Clarion-Ledger reports.

Mississippi was one of three states with the full drug conviction ban. The other two are South Carolina and West Virginia.

The change takes effect July 1.