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Justice Department Investigating Alleged Inhumane Conditions At Mississippi Prisons

The Justice Department is finally investigating the Mississippi Correctional Facilities after weeks and weeks of stories concerning the deaths of at least a dozen inmates, reports of gangs “controlling” the prisons, critical understaffing and images and videos showing alarming conditions.

The New York Times reports that The Justice Department responded to the turmoil on Wednesday by announcing a civil rights investigation to explore whether prison officials have done enough to protect inmates from one another and the quality of mental health care and suicide prevention efforts.

Four facilities will be focused on including Parchman, the prison where five inmates were killed within a week.

“The investigation will focus on whether the Mississippi Department of Corrections adequately protects prisoners from physical harm at the hands of other prisoners at the four prisons, as well as whether there is adequate suicide prevention, including adequate mental health care and appropriate use of isolation, at Parchman,” a DOJ statement said.

Prior to the DOJ’s news, Mississippi state leaders were taken to task for the alleged prisons’ conditions.

Yo Gotti and Team Roc Jay Z’s philanthropic arm of Roc Nation threatened a lawsuit against the governor. According to them, inmates 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.” Team Roc later released graphic video from inside Parchman showing an inmate stabbing and horrifying conditions.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center and others filed a class action on behalf of prisoners alleging that “the Mississippi Department of Corrections has operated the prison in a continuous state of crisis, neglect, and abuse for years, causing extreme and preventable suffering for thousands of prisoners in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.”

Gov. Tate Reeves said on Wednesday via a spokeswoman that he welcomes the Justice Department’s federal inquiry.

“We are grateful that President Trump’s administration has taken a focused interest in criminal justice reform and that they care enough about Mississippi to engage on this critical issue,” said Renae Eze.

“As we continue our own investigations,” she continued, “we look forward to cooperating with them and working together to right this ship.”

We’re glad that the DOJ is looking into this. Where there’s smoke there’s fire and it’s CLEAR that things are ablaze in Mississippi.


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