Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Yo Gotti, and Team ROC, the social justice division of Roc Nation, lawsuits against a Mississippi prison have resulted in an official investigation where conditions were deemed unconstitutional. According to a press release, on Wednesday (April 20) the United States Justice Department released a report stating “Mississippi routinely violates the constitutional rights of people incarcerated at Parchman.”
The full report found that the Mississippi State Penitentiary (also known as Parchman) violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, including failing to provide adequate mental health treatment to people with serious mental health needs, failing to take sufficient suicide prevention measures to protect people at risk of self-harm, subjecting people to prolonged isolation in solitary confinement in egregious conditions that place their physical and mental health at substantial risk of serious harm, and failing to protect incarcerated people from violence at the hands of other incarcerated people.
“My heart goes out to the incarcerated men who have suffered without access to clean water, food, and healthcare and the families that tragically lost loved ones in the process,” shared Yo Gotti in a provided statement. “I will continue to stand up for the voiceless until they receive [the] justice they deserve. I’m grateful for the U.S. Department of Justice’s thorough report to hold the Mississippi Department of Corrections accountable for the cruel and inhumane treatment of the incarcerated population.”
The DOJ investigation dates back to February 2020, shortly after Team ROC filed initial lawsuits. As VIBE previously reported in January 2020, the collective filed a lawsuit against the prison over inhumane conditions. In February 2020, a second lawsuit was filed on behalf of imprisoned populations at the same location.
In February 2022, Roc Nation announced it has partnered with A&E Network to create a docuseries Exposing Parchman exploring the Mississippi correctional system. According to a press release, the four-part program follows the long efforts to reform the Mississippi correctional system, led by the inmates of Parchman Prison.
Additionally, investigations of conditions at Southern Mississippi Correctional Institution, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility are ongoing.
“On behalf of Team Roc, we are pleased to see the Department of Justice recognize the horrific conditions in Mississippi’s prisons. Because of the inhumane conditions, we filed lawsuits in Mississippi to help protect the men living inside the infamous Parchman prison,” expressed Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez in a statement.
“For years, the incarcerated population has been forced to live inside rat-infested conditions and survive with a water system contaminated with human feces all with non-existent healthcare resources available to them. Over the past three years, the death toll has been utterly devastating and we hope today’s report brings many families and their loved ones one step closer toward getting the justice they deserve. We applaud the Department of Justice for their report.”
Read the full report from the DOJ here.