Jay-Z and Yo Gotti have dropped their lawsuit against the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Miss.
NBC News reports that Team Roc, Roc Nation’s social justice initiative, has deemed the facility’s improving conditions good enough to dismiss their prison reform suit without prejudice against the prison in a “stipulation of dismissal” filed in federal court. However, Team Roc’s attorney Jordan Siev expressed that Gotti and Hov would reopen their case if conditions were to deteriorate.
“We are pleased with the changes made to date and the improvements in the day-to-day lives of the guys’ inside,” Siev disclosed. “But we’re also cognizant of the fact that Parchman has had a long history of lawsuits, improvements, and then backsliding conditions. We’re pleased that improvements have been made inside, but we’re also not going to take our foot off the gas.“
Yo Gotti, 41, also released a statement dismissing their lawsuit, but pledged that Team Roc wouldn’t let the prison off the hook. Instead, the Memphis rapper asserted they would be working to ensure other evils are dispelled from the institute.
“We’re pleased that Parchman has started to address the cruel and inhumane prison conditions after the Department of Justice’s investigation, but we aren’t satisfied with short-term improvements,” Gotti, née Mario Mims, articulated. “The Mississippi Department of Corrections has neglected these torturous living conditions for decades, so we will continue to hold them accountable and ensure they commit to creating long-lasting change that safely protects their incarcerated population.”
As a part of the agreement to drop the lawsuit, Siev and other legal reps were given access to take a peak at the upgrades inside of the penitentiary. Siev and crew expressed that they plan to share the recorded footage with the Justice Department to provide updates on the conditions.
Changes made to the facility since the suit was filed in 2020 include replacing an outdated van with two functioning ambulances at Parchman’s medical center. The prison also boasts new showers, toilets, sinks, upgraded heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and remodeled plumbing systems.
Prisoners will also have an updated selection of activities, like flag football, basketball, and boxing. The State Prison also claims they fixed broken tiles in the mess hall, removed mold, and opened additional kitchen operations.
In 2020, when Team Roc decided to pursue legal action against the institution, they filed a lawsuit on behalf of 200 prisoners at Parchman’s penitentiary to remedy its conditions.
The living conditions for the inmates were allegedly horrific as prisoners were exposed to cockroaches, rat feces, bird droppings contaminating their meals, shattered lights, broken toilets, and faulty showers in a “perpetual state of systemic failure.” The Mississippi prison also lacked medical care, which required inmates to administer self-treatment of their wounds.
Conditions were horrid enough to prompt a response from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, launching an investigation into Mississippi’s prison system. Additionally, a cluster of unjust deaths and unexplained prison lockdowns triggered protests at Mississippi’s Capitol to “shut [the prison] down,” Associated Press reports.