Last week, it was reported that Memphis rapper Yo Gotti and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation warned the state of Mississippi of a pending lawsuit over the state of inmate housing and this week, it appears that the coalition has followed through. Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger reports that the suit was filed Tuesday, January 14 against Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Superintendent of the Mississippi State Penitentiary of Parchman Marshal Turner on behalf of 29 inmates.
“Individuals held in Mississippi’s prisons are dying because Mississippi has failed to fund its prisons, resulting in prisons where violence reigns because prisons are understaffed,” the suit argues. “In the past two weeks alone, five men incarcerated in Mississippi have died as the result of prison violence. These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights.” Of course, “constitutional rights” here refers to the Eighth Amendment, which specifically forbids “cruel and unusual punishments.”
The suit lists those cruel punishments as the prevalent violence and the prison forcing inmates to “live in squalor,” with black mold, rat and mice infestations, flooding, and days-long blackouts of electricity and water among the chief complaints. The lawsuit implores a judge to order the DOC to provide clean, healthy facilities and hire an adequate amount of staff. Yo Gotti learned of the conditions there and enlisted Roc Nation’s Team Roc outreach arm to send the initial letter, but it looks like the rapper wasn’t just making idle threats.