Yo Gotti and Jay Z’s Roc Nation are teaming up to potentially hit the state of Mississippi with a large civil lawsuit. Yo Gotti heard the recent news of violence in Mississippi state prisons and called upon the Roc Nation to lend support in drafting a strong-worded letter to the state’s governor, Phil Bryant. The letter makes it clear that the rapper and company plan to sue the state if they don’t make moves for reform.
According to TMZ, the letter, sent Thursday, states that both male and female prisoners are “forced to live in squalor, with rats that crawl over them as they sleep on the floor, having been denied even a mattress for a cot.” They stated the prison conditions are so inhumane that it is a form of “cruel and unusual punishment,” a violation of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment.
The letter arrives following news of violence in Mississippi’s prisons. Last week, five inmates were killed and two escaped, according to The New York Times. The publication states the state’s 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.”
While the killings are attributed specifically to gang violence, many blame the conditions. “This was gang violence — it’s the fact of the matter,” said Benny Ivey, a former inmate and current advocate for prisoner’s rights. “But also the fact of the matter, if you ain’t treated like animals, you won’t act like an animal. They’re people, man. They’re our loved ones. They are our brothers, our uncles, our daddies, our grandfathers.”
Gotti and Roc Nation will reportedly give Bryant the weekend to answer their push for reform. If Byrant makes no changes, Roc Nation’s lawyer Alex Spiro will file a civil rights lawsuit.