Photo: Christopher Polk / Staff via GETTY
  /  01.24.2023

After two years, JAY-Z and Yo Gotti have dropped their lawsuit against Mississippi State’s Parchman Farm Penitentiary. Yesterday (Jan. 23), NBC News reported that the social justice department of Team Roc dismissed the claim last week after the facility improved its conditions.

“We are pleased with the changes made to date and the improvements in the day-to-day lives of the guys’ inside,” said Attorney Jordan Siev, a partner at Reed Smith LLP in New York, who also works with Team Roc. “But we’re also cognizant of the fact that Parchman has had a long history of lawsuits, improvements and then backsliding conditions.”

The hip hop duo first filed the lawsuit in 2020 during the quarantine period of the pandemic when they represented over 200 inmates at the prison. They claimed that the facility had unsanitary living conditions and neglected the prisoners.

Allegedly, inmates had to overcome rat feces, cockroaches and bird droppings contaminating their meals; broken lights, toilets and showers in a “perpetual state of systemic failure”; and a lack of medical attention, in which some cases required treatment of wounds.

The conditions at Parchman were so bad that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division launched an investigation into the Mississippi correctional facility following numerous violent deaths, lockdowns and protests outside the state Capitol, which requested shutting down the prison.

According to NBC, the improvements include two functioning ambulances at the medical center at Parchman, replacing an outdated van; new stainless-steel showers, toilets and sinks; upgraded heating, air conditioning, ventilation and plumbing systems; recreational activities, such as basketball, flag football and boxing; the replacement of broken tiles and the removal of mold; and the opening of kitchen operations in additional units.

NBC also said that according to a “stipulation of dismissal” filed in a Mississippi federal court, the suit is being dismissed without prejudice and that the lawsuit from Team Roc could be refiled if the conditions worsen.

“We’re pleased that improvements have been made inside, but we’re also not going to take our foot off the gas,” Siev added.

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