OLIVER LAW GROUP FILES CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT AGAINST INHUMANE PRISON CONDITIONS IN MISSISSIPPI
Feb. 13, 2020
Oliver Law Group, P.C. has submitted a class action complaint filed on behalf of 14 prisoners confined at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman regarding inhumane prison conditions.
Prison reform activists have called for the infamous facility, located in the Mississippi Delta's Sunflower County, to be shut down since the 1990s. However, attempts to close or reform Parchman have largely been unsuccessful. Considering that Mississippi has the third-highest incarceration rate in the county, it’s likely the fight will continue to be a tough one. Therefore, we have chosen to take immediate action.
The State of Parchman Penitentiary
Mississippi has a history of not providing enough funds or staff to properly maintain its prisons. Inmates across the state are currently being confined in conditions which pose serious and imminent dangers to their safety and well-being. Parchman is only one of the many examples of this prison crisis—but it is also one of the worst.
A 2019 Mississippi Department of Health inspection found “more than 400 cells with problems such as flooding and leaks, lack of lights, power and water, broken toilets and sinks as well as missing pillows and mattresses.”
A shortage of correctional officers on staff at Parchman has created an environment in which the inmates are particularly susceptible to violence, gang influence, and prolonged states of anarchy. Since January 1, 2020, no less than nine inmates have died at Parchman. At least two others have escaped.
Recent Attempts at Reform
In January, rap musicians Jay-Z and Yo Gotti filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of 29 Parchman inmates. Arguing their lives are in danger if they remain confined at the facility, the lawsuit seeks damages for the inmates and an order demanding the Mississippi Department of Corrections to act.
In addition to this lawsuit, our law firm has filed a class action of our own in the matter of seeking damages as opposed to injunctive relief. There are 14 plaintiffs, but we are representing every current and future Parchman inmate.
The lawsuit focuses on whether:
insufficient staffing at Parchman and the resulting unsafe conditions violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution
the squalid environmental conditions in which prisoners are confined at Parchman violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution
Defendants actions alleged herein violated the civil rights enumerated herein of Plaintiffs and the Class
We are working alongside Mississippi law firm Calderon Law to bring a suit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The Defendants are Pelicia E. Hall, the Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, her successors, and Marshal Turner, the Superintendent of the Mississippi State Penitentiary.
The fight to reform, if not shut down, Parchman is one small part of a larger, national problem. Right now, millions of people are incarcerated in the U.S. in similarly bleak conditions. Many of American’s prisons do not offer the education and rehabilitation prisoners need, let alone basic human necessities like clean water and hygiene products. This lawsuit is only the beginning.
For more information, view the full class action complaint here or read our recent press release on the topic.
If you or a loved one has experienced injustice at the hands of law enforcement, get in touch with our criminal defense attorney at Oliver Law Group, P.C. Contact us online anytime or give us a call. Continue to follow our blog for updates and new developments on this case.