Jay-Z and Yo Gotti have joined forces to sue the authorities in Mississippi over a coronavirus outbreak at the Parchman Prison.
Fresh from pressing for the firing of a Wisconsin Police Officer for killing 3 Black men, Jay-Z is on to the next one, championing other plights faced by underserved African Americans. Continuing their fight for Mississippi inmates, Jay and Yo Gotti have followed up on their February lawsuit and are now suing over a COVID-19 outbreak at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman Farm. The rappers, as well as Team Roc, Jay-Z’s social justice agency, have been agitating all year for improved regulations amid the “inhumane and dangerous conditions of confinement.”
They’ve written an open letter to Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves calling for the facility to be closed in addition to the initial lawsuit, and are stepping it up by suing the Corrections Commissioner Nathan Burl Cain and the healthcare provider for the Mississippi prison system, Centurion.
The new lawsuit states that the “cruel and tortuous” conditions have not been addressed or alleviated since the first complaint and have been made worse by a COVID-19 outbreak at Parchman Farm. A COVID-19 questionnaire created to probe the extent of the threat was given to inmates by the rappers and Team Roc, which determined that many of the inmates were experiencing Corona related symptoms yet not receiving adequate treatment.
Personal protective equipment and social distancing protocols were also found to be lacking as well as inmates being subject to rat infestations, flooding, and contaminated, undercooked food. In an official statement, Yo Gotti spoke on the state of affairs at the facility that the team had previously referred to as “a shameful symbol of society’s moral decay.”
“The situation in Parchman is dire. More and more of the incarcerated population are reaching out for help and pleading for immediate medical attention, especially as the coronavirus threatens their lives,” Yo Gotti began, via Complex. “Mississippi Governor Reeves, Commissioner Burl Cain and Centene—as the parent company of Parchman’s healthcare provider Centurion—can’t continue to neglect this tragedy and let the death toll rise. We will hold them accountable and fight for the rights of the incarcerated.”
Jay-Z has been working assiduously in the wake of the relentless racially charged protests, recently buying multiple full-page newspaper ads across America to promote Black-owned businesses in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. He’s been notoriously critical of the criminal justice system, getting involved with Meek Mill’s prison reform efforts a few years prior. His sights are now set on making headway on the insufferable conditions at Parchman Farm. “There can be no doubt these conditions take their toll both physically and psychologically, as the relentless cacophony created by the cries of human suffering and violence pervade each inmate’s experience at Parchman,” the filed complaint continued.