Yo Gotti was not playing with Mississippi prison officials.
We previously reported that the Memphis rapper joined forces with the philanthropic division of Roc Nation, Team Roc, to fight for improved prison conditions. Gotti and Team Roc sent a letter to Gov. Phil Bryant threatening to take legal action against the state if they didn’t fix the problem expeditiously. Considering that the rapper and philanthropic team fired off the lawsuit, Mississippi officials didn’t rectify the issue.
The complaint accuses prison officials of hosting a “dangerous environmental conditions,” such as exposure to mold, wiring, unsafe drinking water, and vermin. In addition, inmates aren’t protected from extreme violence. It’s so bad in there, attorneys are saying the conditions constitute as cruel and unusual punishment, which is a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
“Plaintiffs lives are in peril. 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 reads. “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.”
“This unthinkable spate of deaths is the culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect at Mississippi’s prisons. As Mississippi has incarcerated increasing numbers of people, it has dramatically reduced its funding of prisons. Nearly half of the prison guard slots for Mississippi’s prison remain unfilled.”
The lawsuit was prompted by the deaths of five inmates in different Mississippi prisons, three of those deaths occurred during the first week of the New Year.
“The conditions in the prisons operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections are absolutely inhumane and unconstitutional,” Gotti said in statement to Complex last week. “To see this happen so close to my hometown of Memphis is truly devastating. That’s why we’re calling on Mississippi state leaders to take immediate action and rectify this issue. If they don’t right this wrong, we’re prepared to take legal action to provide relief for those that are incarcerated and their families.”
Inmates filed a civil lawsuit on December 29th against Felicia Hall, the Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner, and Marshal Turner, the Superintendent of the Mississippi State Penitentiary. The plaintiffs are being represented by Ellyde R. Thompson, Joshua Stanton, and Alex Spiro, who have experience with numerous legal cases on behalf of Team Roc.