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MDOC holding boxing matches in ring donated by Jay-Z to boost morale among inmates

Jay-Z Parchman
The Mississippi Department of Corrections is using a boxing ring donated by Jay-Z to allow inmates to compete in matches against one another.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is creating sports teams at all state-run facilities to boost inmates’ productivity levels for rehabilitation.

Sports, including basketball, boxing, flag football, and softball will be facilitated at detention centers statewide. Teams will be formed at the respective prisons and will compete against each other. MDOC officials believe this will build a sense of camaraderie among the inmates.

The goal is to give those locked up enjoyable activities to partake in to eliminate idleness and generate a sense of eagerness to work toward improving both mentally and physically.

The Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman held its inaugural boxing match in November with teams competing against those at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl. In April, MSP inmates competed amongst themselves.

“The inmates who participate have pre-match physicals and are required to take drug tests. The boxers get a special visit following their match where they can share a meal with their families,” Mississippi State Penitentiary Superintendent, Marc McClure said. “This has been beneficial to reducing behavior problems and providing an additional tool to improve both inmate morale and reducing idleness.”

Mississippi Athletic Commission Chairman Randy Phillips has assisted with boxing training and also ensures that MDOC safety equipment meets standards. During boxing events, medical staff and ringside trainers attend as well as official judges, referees, and timekeepers who facilitate the matches.

The boxing ring was donated by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. Marcy Croft, Jay-Z’s attorney, facilitated the donation and has attended to see boxers in the program.

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