Mississippi prison found to have violated inmates’ constitutional rights

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Mississippi prison found to have violated inmates' constitutional rights

A Mississippi prison violated the Constitution by subjecting its inmates to inhumane conditions, the U.S. Justice of Department announced on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Corrections/Twitter

A Mississippi prison violated the Constitution by subjecting its inmates to inhumane conditions, the U.S. Justice of Department announced on Wednesday.

Prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, also called Parchman, had insufficient access to mental health treatment for severe conditions, the department reports. The prison also subjected the incarcerated to prolonged solitary confinement “in egregious conditions,” neglected to implement effective anti-suicide protections and failed to prevent inmate-on-inmate violence.

“The Constitution guarantees that all people incarcerated in jails and prisons are treated humanely, that reasonable measures are taken to keep them safe, and that they receive necessary mental health care, treatment, and services to address their needs,” Assistant Attorney General Clarke said in a media release.

“Our investigation uncovered evidence of systemic violations that have generated a violent and unsafe environment for people incarcerated at Parchman. We are committed to taking action that will ensure the safety of all people held at Parchman and other state prison facilities.”

The department began its investigation of the facility more than two years ago, after a series of violent incidents in late 2019 and early 2020 killed nine inmates and injured several others. It’s continuing to investigate conditions at three other Mississippi correctional facilities.

According to Wednesday’s release, the Mississippi Department of Corrections “has been on notice of these deficiencies for years and failed to take reasonable measures to address the violations, due in part to non-functional accountability or quality assurance measures.”

Parchman isn’t the first Mississippi prison found to have violated the Constitution. In 2015, two other state facilities were found to have routinely failed protect prisoners from violence, kept them in filthy conditions and kept them in custody past their court-ordered release dates.

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