Apr 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ says conditions at Mississippi state prison violate Constitution

The Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Justice said Wednesday it found throughout an investigation that conditions at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Sunflower County violate incarcerated people's constitutional rights.

Why it matters: Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said the department's civil rights division found evidence that the prison failed to protect prisoners from violence from other prisoners and prevent suicide.

  • It said the prison also failed to provide adequate mental health treatment to prisoners who needed them and subjected prisoners to prolonged isolation in solitary confinement "in egregious conditions."

What they're saying: “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,” Clarke said in a statement.

  • “Our investigation uncovered evidence of systemic violations that have generated a violent and unsafe environment for people incarcerated at Parchman," Clarke added.

The big picture: The department gave Mississippi the facts of its investigation and the minimum remedial measures to address them in a 59-page findings letter.

  • The department's investigation into Mississippi prisons began in 2020.

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