Five inmates were killed in Mississippi’s state prisons within one week in late December and early January, a result of escalating violence some experts attribute to unchecked gang activity and insufficient funding within a system that has spun out of control. Now the Mississippi Department of Corrections and the warden of the state prison are facing a lawsuit over conditions in the prisons, sponsored by none other than Jay-Z.
Last week lawyer Alex Spiro sent a letter to Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Gov. Phil Bryant on behalf of Jay-Z and Yo Gotti protesting “inhumane conditions in prisons operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.” And as NBC reports, Jay-Z filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of 29 prisoners at the US District Court in Greenville, naming DOC Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Mississippi State Penitentiary Superintendent Marshall Turner as defendants.
In the lawsuit, Spiro wrote, “These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights.” In his prior letter, Spiro wrote, “As Mississippi has incarcerated increasing numbers of people, it has dramatically reduced its funding of prisons. As a result, prison conditions fail to meet even the most basic human rights… People are forced to live in squalor, with rats that crawl over them as they sleep on the floor, having been denied even a mattress for a cot.” He concluded, “Roc Nation and its philanthropic arm, Team Roc, demand that Mississippi take immediate steps to remedy this intolerable situation.”