A known philanthropist, Jay-Z often rears his head in matters of criminal justice reform. In early January, the rapper teamed up with Yo Gotti to tackle prison reform in Mississippi following the news of recent violence and the death of several inmates. Together with Team Roc, the team threatened to sue the state if conditions didn’t improve. It looks as though their call for reform went unanswered because a second lawsuit was officially filed against the Mississippi Department Of Corrections.
Team Roc filed the suit on behalf of 152 more prisoners at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. Eighteen deaths have been reported throughout the Mississippi correctional system, with most of them happening at Parchman. According to Team Roc, prisoners have claimed “the food is adulterated with rat feces, cockroaches, rocks, bird droppings, and other foreign matter,” and many inmates are “in dire need of medical care for cancer, lupus, [and] serious heart defects.”
These conditions have led to internal riots within the prison that began back in December. The New York Times reported in January that five inmates were killed and two escaped in just one week. The report states that the Mississippi prisons have earned a reputation for “dark and near-mythic reputation for cruelty and institutional racism.” One inmate saw such conditions as “meals of just a slice of bologna with a packet of mustard, sightings of rats and mold, and nights spent on a mat on a cold, damp floor.”
Team Roc debuted a graphic PSA video to their social media that highlights some of the horror stories faced by Mississippi prisoners. “Inmates have been forced to live in deadly environments that lack clean water, adequate food, access to healthcare, among many other basic human necessities,” they wrote.
Watch Team Roc’s PSA below.