Memphis rapper Yo Gotti and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation have joined forces for a lawsuit over the condition of inmate housing in Mississippi. The rappers are taking Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Superintendent of the Mississippi State Penitentiary of Parchman Marshal Turner to task on behalf of 29 inmates, according to the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger.
“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,” the suit says. “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 conditions of Mississippi’s prisons has become a national concern, as reports of black mold, rat and mice infestations, flooding and lengthy blackouts of electricity and water have made headlines. Yo Gotti learned of the crisis facing Mississippi inmates in the news and recruited Jay-Z to help seek some justice.
Prison reform has long been a pet cause of Jay-Z’s and, with Just Mercy getting a wide release last week, it’s on the minds of many Americans too. You can read our interview with Bryan Stevenson and Michael B. Jordan — the famed prison reform advocate and the man who plays him in Just Mercy, respectively — here.