The influential hip-hop business tandem, which consists of Yo Gotti (pictured left) and Jay Z (pictured right) has made good on a threat by their unified legal teams to sue the state of Mississippi.
Yo Gotti (born Mario Mims) and Jay Z (born Shawn Carter) issued a letter last week to high-ranking Mississippi officials. In this letter, which was also co-written by Jay and Gotti’s legal team, Mississippi’s government was told that it would be sued for the inhuman conditions prisoners are being subjected to. The Clarion-Ledger newspaper of Jackson, Mississippi originally broke this story.
Over the last few months, bloody, gang-related violence (reportedly agitated by prison guards) has claimed the lives of several prisoners in Mississippi. The state’s Parchman Farm prison is particularly gruesome and has been notoriously known for its sub-human conditions. In the 1970s, a federal judge already ruled that Parchman was in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Jay and Gotti’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against Mississippi on Tuesday (January 14) on behalf of 29 inmates whose “lives are in peril,” according to the civil complaint.
“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. In the past two weeks alone, five men incarcerated in Mississippi have died as the result of prison violence,” reads the lawsuit, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
“These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights,” the suit also claims.
Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Superintendent of the Mississippi State Penitentiary of Parchman Marshal Turner are the primary state officials listed as defendants in this unprecedented lawsuit. Alex Spiro is a key attorney who is working with Jay and Gotti on facilitating the legal action this case demands.
“[As a society], we lock these people up and forget about them. I’m hopeful that these sorts of actions give them hope and give them oversight to a prison system that desperately needed it,” Spiro told the Clarion-Ledger.