View Full Version : Article: Cabana to step down as Parchman superintendent

12-07-2004, 06:09 PM

Posted on Tue, Dec. 07, 2004

Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - Donald A. Cabana is stepping down from his position as superintendent of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, corrections officials said Tuesday.
Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps told The Associated Press that Cabana, who took over the state's largest and oldest prison in May, is leaving for "personal reasons."

Epps said Cabana will retain the position through the end December and officials hope to have a replacement by the first of year.

"We obviously hate to see him go but I can ensure the public that we won't miss a beat in protecting public safety at all," Epps said. "We'll get a replacement."

Cabana, 59, called his departure a "mixed bag of emotions."

"I love this institution," Cabana said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I suppose the easiest thing to say is there are a number of personal reasons involved. I like to think among the most important is the fact that I think this is right for the institution at this time in its operation. It's right for me."

Corrections officials credit Cabana, who took his first job with the prison as a corrections officer in 1971, with helping save the state as much as $8.5 million this year by streamlining administrative management of the 18,000-acre prison. Cabana has supervised about 1,145 employees in nine different housing units that contain an inmate population that fluctuates around 4,660, according to Corrections spokeswoman Suzanne Singletary.

Epps said 142 jobs have been eliminated at the prison this year. He said even with the staff reductions, public safety was being maintained with the installation of new fencing and an electronic surveillance system that should be up and running next week.

"His years of experience and education certainly paid off up there," Epps said of Cabana. "With his help we have reevaluated the state housing. We had to move some people off the grounds, auctioned off vehicles, took pagers and cell phones and we finalized lethal-nonlethal fencing up there."

Cabana plans to return to the University of Southern Mississippi where he will become chair of the Criminal Justice Department in January. He worked in the department for 12 years before taking over at Parchman.

"I will always be deeply indebted to Commissioner Epps and the governor," Cabana said.

Now he wants to touch lives in a different way - a university setting.

"I was there (the university) for 12 years and loved every minute of it," he said. "It's such a challenge being around those young kids ... You know you have the opportunity to have a role in shaping some of the future practitioners who are going to be leaders in these agencies."

During his 32-year career, Cabana has held administrative positions at correctional institutions in Missouri, Florida and Mississippi. His roles ranged from prison warden for maximum security facilities to commissioner of corrections.