Jay-Z, Yo Gotti, and Team ROC are suing Mississippi prisons over the health conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of 227 inmates in Mississippi against the state’s Department of Corrections Commissioner Nathan Burl Cain and Centurion, the healthcare provider for Mississippi prisons.
Billboard obtained a sworn COVID-19 questionnaire filled out by prisoners at Parchman Prison, the state’s maximum-security men’s prison, who described unsafe health conditions inside the prison.
According to the inmates, there is a short supply of tests at the facility, poor social distancing, and lack of protective gear like masks. In some situations, inmates who are coughing and have a fever are in close proximity with other inmates.
“The situation in Parchman in 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 said in a statement. “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.”
Yo Gotti said that he and Team ROC were prompted to file the lawsuit after hearing about “cruel and torturous living conditions that resulted in internal riots, suicides, and homicides.”
When asked if any changes were made to separate inmates in light of COVID-19, one inmate wrote, “No, nothing!!! MDOC don’t really care about what’s happening to inmates!!!”
Team ROC said in a statement that the lack of medical care has worsened, leading to 49 deaths throughout the Mississippi prison system.
Officials are urged to submit a plan to address the prison conditions within 90 days.