More than 150 inmates at a Mississippi prison are suing prison officials for "abhorrent conditions," with help from attorneys working with hip-hop stars Yo Gotti and Jay-Z, reports CBS News.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Mississippi Wednesday on behalf of inmates at Parchman prison. It is the second lawsuit filed on behalf of the 152 inmates. The Department of Justice earlier this month announced the launch of a civil rights investigation into the conditions at four Mississippi prisons, including Parchman.
A total of 19 people have died in state facilities since Dec. 29.
"The conditions of confinement at Parchman are so barbaric, the deprivation of health and mental health care so extreme, and the defects in security so severe, that the people confined at Parchman live a miserable and hopeless existence confronted daily by imminent risk of substantial harm in violation of their rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution," the complaint said.
The most recent suit alleges staffing is "dangerously deficient," and living conditions are "not suitable for animals." Additionally, the food served to inmates is contaminated and does not provide proper nutrition. The suit also claims mental healthcare is "non-existent."
"I understand we're incarcerated, but you're still supposed to treat us like humans," said Travonta Riley, who spent five years behind bars at Parchman and was released Jan. 13. "I know it ain't supposed to be easy for us, but it ain't supposed to be that hard with our living conditions.
"If I go two weeks without a shower, of course, I'm going to act out."
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