Two years ago, artists Jay-Z and Yo Gotti led an initiative through Roc Nation to obtain legal representation for 200 incarcerated individuals held at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. Following their efforts, an investigation was launched to look deeper into the inhumane conditions of the prison facility. The Department of Justice reported their findings Wednesday stating the prison violated the constitutional rights of the inmates, per PBS Newshour.
Per the DOJ’s report, Parchman failed to provide adequate mental health treatment, failed to take sufficient suicide prevention measures, subjected people to prolonged isolation in solitary confinement and failed to protect them from violence. In their release, the DOJ said these conditions violated the 8th and 14th Amendments of the incarcerated individuals.
More on the report from The Department of Justice:
As required by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), the Justice Department provided the state of Mississippi with written notice of the supporting facts for these findings and the minimum remedial measures necessary to address them in a comprehensive 59-page findings letter.
“The Constitution guarantees that all people incarcerated in jails and prisons are treated humanely, that reasonable measures are taken to keep them safe, and that they receive necessary mental health care, treatment, and services to address their needs,” said Assistant Attorney General Clarke.
“Our investigation uncovered evidence of systemic violations that have generated a violent and unsafe environment for people incarcerated at Parchman. We are committed to taking action that will ensure the safety of all people held at Parchman and other state prison facilities. We look forward to working with state officials to institute comprehensive reforms.”
The findings report said the Mississippi Department of Corrections has been “on notice of these deficiencies for years” yet failed to take the proper measures to address those violations. The DOJ said non-functional accountability and quality assurance measures led to the negligence of the people in Parchman.
In their conclusion, the DOJ said after 49 days of issuing the letter to MDOC, the Attorney General may file a lawsuit pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act if the prison does not address the concerns found in their investigation.
The department is also investigating prison conditions in other Mississippi prison as well as prisons in other states including Alabama, Texas and Georgia, reported PBS.