Earlier this year, Jay Z and Yo Gotti joined forces to fight the powers that be at the Mississippi Department of Corrections’ Parchman Farm. As a result of their lawsuit against state officials, brought due to the cruel and unjust conditions Parchman prisoners are forced to live in, a judge granted Hov and Gotti’s experts access to the penitentiary.
In an update, the Clarion-Ledger has released an investigative report detailing inmate conditions. The report alleges inmates have been living without drinkable water, eating spoiled food that is sometimes covered in insects and/or rat feces, and going without medical care (even in the most severe cases), on top of being extorted by prison guards.
Complex details the report:
Hov and Gotti’s inquiry discovered that inmates often end up threatening self-harm, flooding cells, and setting fires in order to actually receive help when a resident is severely injured or sick. Previous instances include a diabetic patient who hadn’t gotten insulin for three days and a man who was urinating blood.
It was found that that food is “undercooked, or spoiled, covered in insects or rat feces, if delivered at all.” The report also alleges that “water that inmates drink and use to wash their clothes is brown and foul-smelling.” Some cells don’t have running water, so prisoners have to urinate or defecate in plastic bags.
In the past, officers have given keys and weapons to gang-affiliated inmates so that they can assault or kill rival gang members. Access to healthcare is dangerously inadequate, with some inmates revealing that they didn’t have follow-up appointments, even when they were symptomatic for conditions like colon cancer, tuberculosis, and a brain tumor.
“Inmates claim access to consistent and competent medical care is hampered by a corrupt and indifferent system,” the Ledger writes. “Men reportedly frequently have trouble obtaining sick call slips needed to request appointments because the supply runs out. Oftentimes it can take several days for the patient to be seen, if at all. Guards regularly fail to transport men to their doctor’s appointments, resulting in treatment being delayed. Some people claim officers charge unofficial transportation fees of up to $150.”
Parchman’s conditions are certainly not conducive to a pandemic, particularly as COVID-19 cases in Mississippi surge and inmates live in close quarters. MDOC reported over 100 staff and inmates have contracted the virus.
As coronavirus plagues the incarcerated population Hov and Gotti have continued to bring suits against the prison. According to Complex, the Mississippi Department of Corrections previously said the rappers’ claims were a gross exaggeration. “Most of the conditions observed by Plaintiffs in February were caused in large part by an extraordinary, deadly gang disruption in late December 2019 and early January 2020. Since that time… conditions at MSP have drastically improved, and the conditions will continue to improve under current Mississippi Department of Corrections leadership,” the agency reportedly said earlier this year.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes of Hov and Gotti’s latest maneuver. Stay tuned for updates.
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