Incapacity advocates sue Mississippi over jail situations

JACKSON, miss. (AP) – A disability advocacy group is suing the Mississippi Correctional Authority, alleging that disabled prisoners suffer from inhumane conditions in state prisons.

Rights of people with disabilities Mississippi filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday against the department and state prison health care provider Vitalcore Health Strategies LLC, The Clarion Ledger reported.

The lawsuit names MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain as the defendant. It cites grave and barbaric conditions in state prisons, which put prisoners at risk of imminent and considerable harm.

The allegations range from guards asking inmates to commit suicide to denying them access to toilets and showers, according to the lawsuit. Some inmates did not receive their prescribed medication. Another person using a feeding tube did not receive the supplies necessary to clean their tube. Another detainee was refused a wheelchair despite a severe spinal injury.

“For people with disabilities, incarceration in an MDOC facility can be tantamount to a death sentence,” Polly Tribble, executive director of Disability Rights Mississippi, said in a statement. “The appalling conditions and treatments in MDOC facilities are a human rights crisis.”

The nonprofit filed the lawsuit after extensive surveillance at three facilities: South Mississippi Correctional Institution, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, and Mississippi State Penitentiary or Parchman Prison Farm.

Leo Honeycutt, a spokesman for the state’s correctional department, said Wednesday the state is not commenting on any pending litigation.

This is not the first time the State Department of Justice has been sued for poor conditions in its prisons. In January 2020, rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gotti sued the Parchman division for inhuman and unconstitutional conditions. This lawsuit is ongoing.

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