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Jay-Z Sues Mississippi Over Dangerous Prison Conditions

Jay-Z (Debby Wong /
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GREENVILLE, Miss. (CelebrityAccess) — Music tycoon Jay-Z has sued the Mississippi Department of Corrections and the warden of the state penitentiary on behalf of 29 prisoners who allege that state officials have done nothing to stop a wave of violence that has resulted in five inmate deaths in two weeks.

The complaint, filed by Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro, claims that chronic understaffing at Mississipi penal institutions have left prisoners vulnerable to violence.

“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. These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights,” the complaint said.

The complaint goes on to claim that a county coroner described the “the recent spate of violence” at Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm has overwhelmed the prison’s medical facilities which have been unable to accommodate all of the injured.

The lawsuit follows an earlier letter from an attorney representing rappers Jay Z and Yo Gotti to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant protesting the “inhumane conditions in prisons operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.”

Through the suit, the plaintiffs are asking the court to compel the State of Mississipi to “develop and implement, as soon as practical, a plan to eliminate the substantial risk of serious harm that plaintiffs suffer due to filthy and dangerous conditions, and the failure to protect incarcerated people from violence.”

Last year, Jay Z and rapper Meek Mill partnered with sports and business leaders to launch the REFORM Alliance, an organization that aims to reduce the number of people serving unjust parole and probation sentences.

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