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Jay-Z is suing Mississippi Department of Corrections officials after 5 inmates died in 2 weeks of violence

Lawyers on behalf of rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gotti have filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Department of Corrections officials in the wake of five inmates deaths in two weeks. The lawsuit accused the state prison system of inhumane living conditions and violating the inmates constitutional rights. The lawsuit follows a January 9 letter to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall in which the rappers threatened to sue the state. Visit Insider s homepage for more stories. Following the death of five inmates in two weeks of violence in Mississippi s prison system, rap mogul Jay-Z has filed a federal lawsuit against officials at the Mississippi Department of Corrections. This unthinkable spate of deaths is the culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect at Mississippi s prisons, the lawsuit read, according to NBC News. As Mississippi has incarcerated increasing numbers of people, it has dramatically reduced its funding of prisons. As a result, prison conditions fail to meet even the most basic human rights. Lawyers on behalf of the rappers accused the defendants of violating Mississippi inmates constitutional rights by not properly staffing the prisons to deal with violence and allowing inmates to live in inhumane conditions. The accusations are based on the Eighth Amendment s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. The lawsuit comes in the wake of an outbreak of prison violence, including fatal stabbings and attacks, NBC News reported. The Mississippi state prison system, which has one of the nation s highest incarceration rates, has been the subject of lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union and other criminal justice groups over the years saying its facilities have inhumane conditions. The lawsuit comes after Jay-Z and rapper Yo Gotti sent a letter to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and DOC Pelicia Hall on January 9, the Mississippi Clarion Ledger reported. The letter pointed to Mississippi prison system s frequent violence, prison staffing shortage, and the inhumane living conditions, where inmates were forced to live in squalor, with rats that crawl over them as they sleep on the floor, having been denied even a mattress for a cot. The DOC declined to comment on the pending litigation to the Clarion Ledger, and previously said in a statement: Because of the active investigations, the agency is limited in providing additional information. Reporting allegations is irresponsible and could further jeopardize the safety of officers, inmates, and the public. On Tuesday morning, the pair followed through on that promise when Jay-Z s lawyer Alex Spiro filed the lawsuit at the US District Court in Greenville, Mississippi, listing Hall and Mississippi State Penitentiary Superintendent Marshall Turner as defendants. Hall is expected to step down from her role next week. Jay-Z and Gotti have been involved in several civil rights cases in the past. Team Roc, the philanthropic arm of Jay-Z s organization Roc Nation, has worked on dozens of civil rights cases related to racism, inequality, and social justice at the rapper s request. Spiro and Jay-Z helped rapper 21 Savage fight deportation after he was arrested by ICE, and provided legal counsel to an 11-year-old named Jabari Talbot who was arrested after refusing to stand for the pledge of allegiance at his Florida middle school, The Guardian reported. The lawsuit alleges inmates in the Mississipi prison system are in peril. Plaintiffs lives are in peril. 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, lawyers wrote in the lawsuit, according to the Clarion Ledger. Spiro told NBC News that Jay-Z and Gotti are prepared to pursue all potential avenues to obtain relief for the people living in Mississippi s prisons and their families. Join the conversation about this story NOW WATCH: Are you superstitious on days like Friday the 13th? These are the origins of 7 common superstitions, like why we knock on wood.


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