DOJ Deems 3 Mississippi Prisons Unconstitutional For ‘Violent And Unsafe Conditions’

Source: Shepard Sherbell / Getty

After a long investigation, the Justice Department announced this week that it has found conditions at three Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) facilities violate the 8th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

According to a 60-page report by the DOJ, the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, South Mississippi Correctional Institution, and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility routinely violated the constitutional rights of people incarcerated by failing to protect them from widespread physical violence.  

The report alleged that the facilities did not adequately supervise the incarcerated population, control the flow of contraband, adequately investigate incidents of serious harm, or provide adequate living conditions. Due to chronic understaffing, “gangs operate in the void left by staff and use violence to control people and traffic contraband,” the report read.

“People living in prisons and jails have a constitutional right to safe and adequate living conditions,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer. “Our investigation uncovered that people in these three facilities were subjected to violent and unsafe conditions, in violation of the Constitution. We look forward to working with Mississippi officials to remedy these violations and improve safety and living standards for people incarcerated in the state of Mississippi.”

The report also alleged the state unconstitutionally subjected inmates at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility to prolonged restrictive housing under harsh conditions that placed them at substantial risk of serious physical and psychological harm.

“Every state is constitutionally obligated to protect the people it incarcerates from known, pervasive and deliberately unchecked violence, and to house people in conditions that do not pose a serious risk of physical and psychological harm,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our investigation uncovered chronic, systemic deficiencies that create and perpetuate violent and unsafe environments for people incarcerated at these three Mississippi facilities. The unconstitutional conditions in Mississippi’s prisons have existed for far too long, and we hope that this announcement marks a turning point toward implementing sound, evidence-based solutions to these entrenched problems.

The Department’s announcement comes almost two years after the release of an April 2022 report which found another state facility, the Mississippi State Penitentiary (known as Parchman), violated the constitutional rights of persons incarcerated there by subjecting them to violence, failing to provide adequate care for serious mental health needs, or adequate suicide prevention measures and using prolonged restrictive housing in a manner that poses a risk of serious harm.

SEE ALSO:

Mississippi Prioritizes Public Safety In Jackson Despite Latest Water Mishap

New Bill To Shut Down Mississippi Public Universities Names 3 HBCUS


The post DOJ Deems 3 Mississippi Prisons Unconstitutional For ‘Violent And Unsafe Conditions’ appeared first on NewsOne.

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