Rappers Yo Gotti and Jay-Z filed a second case this week against the Mississippi Department of Corrections targeting the state’s notorious Parchman custody, where at least nine persons have lost since the beginning of the year.
The case was filed on behalf of more than 150 persons housed in the custody – formally known as the Mississippi State Penitentiary — and claims “barbaric” conditions within the facility, including food contaminated with rat feces and cockroaches, flooded cells and lack of medical care.
In a news release, Team Roc — the philanthropic arm of Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation — called for the Mississippi Department of Corrections to address the health and safety risks within 90 days.
The announcement came alongside a video released by the organization, which documents some of the conditions inside the custody and includes testimony.
A second lawsuit has been filed against the MSDOC demanding closure of #Parchman due to the cruel and torturous living conditions.— Team Roc (@teamroc) February 26, 2020
Just last month the two rappers helped more than two dozen peoples file another class-action against the custody that attributed end to a “culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect.” “The game plan is to get change,” Yo Gotti told CNN’s Stephanie Elam recently. “To make sure the Mississippi custody be held accountable to treat the persons like humans and not have them living in inhumane conditions.” CNN has reached out to the Mississippi Department of Corrections for comment on it.
Conditions worse than ‘an animal shelter,’ suit says
The latest case, much like the first one, says suffers from understaffing issues which result in improper inmate care, neglect and rampant inmate-on-inmate roughness. At least three people have lost behind facility bars as a result of roughness outbreaks. The filing goes on to say that in addition to the roughness, “words cannot adequately describe the degree of filth and dilapidation the men at Parchman live in, and lie in, every day.”
“Were these conditions in existence at an animal shelter, media would swarm, arrests would be made, and those in charge would be on their way to custody as a result of public.” The cite problems such as flooded cells, missing light fixtures, collapsing ceilings, black mold, broken sewer systems and water systems contaminated with human feces, and cold, dark cells that in the summer jump to stifling hot temperatures.
Further, it states, “they receive meals that are undercooked and served at unsafe temperatures. Many times, the food is adulterated with rat feces, cockroaches, rocks, bird droppings and other foreign matter.” The suit also says the persons don’t receive access to adequate medical care.
“[Peoples] insert their own catheters, treat their own stab wounds, vomit up vital fluid, teeter on the verge of diabetic comas, and suffer through seizures without medical care.
Even a broken neck can go without treatment at Parchman, with the inmate being left to suffer through his wound while sleeping on exposed, steel bedsprings with no mattress,” the suit says.
Governor will shut down Parchman unit
The cases echo a June report from state Department of Health environmental administrator Rayford Horton, which raised concern about the conditions — highlighting several issues within one specific unit: Unit 29. More than half of the Team Roc’s recent case come from that unit. In his state of the state address last month, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves vowed to shut down the unit, which he called the “most notorious” in the facility. Reeves said in January that he visited the facility and the problems within were “infuriating.” “We can do better,” he said.
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