JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — An Associated Press analysis has found that Mississippi has long operated in violation of national standards for death investigations, accruing a severe backlog of autopsies and reports.
Autopsies that should take days take weeks. Autopsy reports that should take months take a year or longer. Too few pathologists are doing too many autopsies.
Some cases are transferred hundreds of miles to neighboring states for reports without their family’s knowledge. Records sent to AP in April show the office was waiting for about 1,300 reports from as far back as 2011. That leaves criminal cases incomplete.
The public safety commissioner hired in 2020 is working to whittle down the backlog and says it’s his top priority.