Yo Gotti is determined to change inhumane conditions within a Mississippi prison. Gotti joined forces with Team Roc, a philanthropic leg of Jay Z’s Roc Nation imprint, to take legal action against officials behind Parchman Prison.
The grossly understaffed and underfunded century-old facility subjects inmates to black mold within their cells, sewage floods, dirty water, rodent infestations, deadly violence and more, according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of 29 prisoners on Tuesday (Jan. 14).
“In Parchman, the units are subject to flooding. Black mold festers. Rats and mice infest the prison. Units lack running water and electricity for days at a time,” the court documents state per the Clarion Leger.
The lawsuit, filed against outgoing MDOC Commissioner Pelicia Hall, and Parchman Superintendent Marshal Turner, comes after three Parchman inmates and two inmates at other Mississippi prisons, were killed over the last month.
“Individuals held in Mississippi’s prisons are dying because Mississippi has failed to fund its prisons, resulting in prisons where violence reigns because prisons are understaffed,” the suit states. “In the past two weeks alone, five men incarcerated in Mississippi have died as the result of prison violence. These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights.”
The legal step follows Team Roc’s recent letter to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, which threatened legal action if nothing changed within the prison.
Gotti and Team Roc want a court order demanding Parchaman hire more properly trained staff, and provide “safe and clean conditions free from filth and vermin and with adequate access to exercise, outdoor recreation, showers, lighting sanitation, plumbing, ventilation and other basic human needs.” The suit also asks for damages, to be determined by a jury.
“The lives of countless individuals in Mississippi prison are at stake,” Gotti said in a statement to TMZ. “And we will not stop until this is fixed.”
Federal authorities have asked the state attorney to provide any known information on alleged civil rights violations and crimes within the prison, the Associated Press reports.
Kelly Mallet, who served eight years at Parchman for a non-violent drug offense, detailed the grizzly conditions inside the facility during a two-day long prison riot. “People were begging for their lives as they were stabbed,” Mallet told The Guardian. “There were fires being set. Trash everywhere. Rats. Roaches. It was just total chaos.”
“It is pure hell there,” added Mallet. “Inside you have no rights.”