Senate Committee unanimously confirms Cain as new MDOC Commissioner
Photo courtesy of MDOC/Twitter

The Senate Corrections Committee voted this morning to unanimously confirm Burl Cain as the new Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. 

Appointed by Governor Tate Reeves in late May, Cain was confirmed by a unanimous vote during a Senate confirmation hearing this morning. During the hearing, Cain reiterated his intent to implement a system that emphasizes “moral rehabilitation.” 

“Moral people don’t steal your lawnmower. Morality is the basis of rehabilitation,” he said. “My passion is to change corrections in this whole country, but if we change Mississippi then we are going to prove that it works and it will work, therefore failure here is not an option for me.”

Cain must now be approved by the full Senate.

Prior to arriving in Mississippi, Cain was formerly the longtime warden of Angola Prison in Louisiana, which was once considered to be one the “bloodiest prison in America.” During his introduction, Governor Reeves credited Cain with turning things around at Angola. 

“He brought faith, security, safety, dignity and pride to the prison,” Governor Reeves said on May 20. “They went from beatings to bible studies. He transformed America’s bloodiest prison into the model of success for the nation.”

The Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman has been at the center of many conversations surrounding the unrest in Mississippi’s prison system, and while some have called for its closure, Cain remains committed to its reform. 

“If I close Parchman, then I’ve admitted failure because we have to fix Parchman,” Cain explained. “To close it is not an option because it is our Achilles heel and that is what we are judged by. So, to close it means that we couldn’t fix it. We’re going to fix Parchman and I’ve already started that.”

Cain said that during his visit to the facility, he was not satisfied with conditions and that they will reevaluate contracts with food and medicine vendors to ensure a higher standard. 

Back in January, Governor Reeves announced the closure of Parchman’s most notorious unit — Unit 29.