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Inmates Sue Mississippi State Penitentiary

Date27 Feb 2020

Inmates Sue Mississippi State PenitentiaryA hundred and fifty inmates have filed a second lawsuit against Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, alleging they have been denied adequate healthcare and have been fed contaminated food.

The class-action lawsuit, funded by rapper Yo Gotti and Jay-Z’s Team Roc, was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Mississippi.

“The conditions of confinement at Parchman are so barbaric, the deprivation of health and mental health care so extreme, and the defects in security so severe, that the people confined at Parchman live a miserable and hopeless existence confronted daily by imminent risk of substantial harm in violation of their rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution,” the suit claims.

The lawsuit says that many inmates require medical care for conditions like lupus, cancer and heart problems. Lawyers filed a separate lawsuit representing 29 different inmates in January.

“Broken bones, abscesses, diabetes and a host of other injuries and maladies routinely go without examination, much less medically effective treatment, at Parchman,” the recent lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit claims that the prison has chronic staffing storages. There is often only one guard for every 160 inmates.

“As a result, prisoner-on-prisoner violence is rampant, and, at times, is facilitated by corrupt guards seeking to curry favor with inmates,” the suit explains.

The lawsuit also alleges that mental healthcare at the facility is basically non-existent. One plaintiff was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder before arriving to prison and has made several unsuccessful attempts to see a psychiatrist. Another plaintiff has attempted suicide several times and has received little to no mental health treatment.

Travonta Riley, spent five years behind bars at Parchman on a marijuana conviction and was released on January 13.

“I understand we’re incarcerated but you’re still supposed to treat us like humans. I know it ain’t supposed to be easy for us but it ain’t supposed to be that hard with our living conditions,” said Riley. “If I go two weeks without a shower, of course, I’m going to act out.”

The lawsuit asks for the court to implement a plan to “eliminate the substantial risk of harm” to inmates caused by the prison’s deteriorating conditions and alleged retaliation by officials.


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