/  04.20.2022

A federal investigation by the Department of Justice has determined that conditions at the Mississippi State Penitentiary are in violation of inmates’ constitutional rights, CNN reported. The federal organization sent the state a 59-page report on Wednesday (April 20), which detailed the findings of the two-year-long probe.

Based on the report, the facility, also known as Parchman Farm, has failed to provide adequate mental health treatment for those in need, instill measures to prevent suicide and self-harm and protect inmates from violence at the hands of other incarcerated individuals. Parchman has also been accused of subjecting prisoners to “prolonged isolation in solitary confinement in egregious conditions that place their physical and mental health at substantial risk of serious harm.”

According to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, the practices are believed to be in violation of the eighth and 14th Amendments, which respectively protect citizens against cruel and unusual punishments and give them the right to equal protection of the law.

“The Constitution guarantees that all people incarcerated in jails and prisons are treated humanely, that reasonable measures are taken to keep them safe, and that they receive necessary mental health care, treatment, and services to address their needs,” she said. “Our investigation uncovered evidence of systemic violations that have generated a violent and unsafe environment for people incarcerated at Parchman. We are committed to taking action that will ensure the safety of all people held at Parchman and other state prison facilities. We look forward to working with state officials to institute comprehensive reforms.”

The Mississippi State Penitentiary has been the target of the Justice Department‘s investigation since 2020. JAY-Z, Yo Gotti and Team Roc, the social justice arm of Roc Nation, have also been vital in bringing awareness to the inhumane conditions of Parchman Farm. Following the release of the report, Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez released a statement applauding the DOJ for the recognition of the prison’s “horrific” environment.

“On behalf of Team Roc, we are pleased to see the Department of Justice recognize the horrific conditions in Mississippi’s prisons,” she wrote. “Because of the inhumane conditions, we filed lawsuits in Mississippi to help protect the men living inside the infamous Parchman prison. For years, the incarcerated population has been forced to live inside rat-infested conditions and survive with a water system contaminated with human feces all with non-existent healthcare resources available to them. Over the past three years, the death toll has been utterly devastating and we hope today’s report brings many families and their loved ones one step closer toward getting the justice they deserve. We applaud the Department of Justice for their report.”


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