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Autopsy set after Mississippi inmate dies in private prison

(AP) — An autopsy will be done on a Mississippi inmate who was found dead in his cell in a privately-run prison.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections said in a news release that Preston Ray Johnson, 33, was pronounced dead Tuesday at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler.
The county coroner said a preliminary investigation showed Johnson’s death appears to be a suicide, according to the news release.
Johnson was convicted of two counts of grand larceny and one count of fleeing a law enforcement officer in 2019 in Panola County, and he was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.
The Tallahatchie prison is run by CoreCivic, which has a state contract to house inmates who were moved earlier this year from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
Johnson was at least the 53rd Mississippi inmate to die since late December. Several inmates died during outbursts of violence in late December and early January. The U.S. Justice Department announced in February that it is investigating Mississippi’s prison system.