JAY-Z Files Federal Lawsuit Against Mississippi Prison Officials on Behalf of Inmates

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she…
Photo Credit: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images

This news follows a letter previously sent by JAY-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro to Mississippi’s DOC Commissioner and the state’s governor on January 9.

JAY-Z has reportedly sued the head of Mississippi Department of Corrections and the warden of the state penitentiary. 

According to NBC News, the hip-hop mogul filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of 29 prisoners who have shared the two officials have done nothing to address the violence that has taken the lives of five prisoners recently. 

The lawsuit filed by JAY-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro at the U.S. District Court in Greenville, Mississippi wrote, “These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights.” In a statement to NBC News, Spiro shared: “We cannot treat people this way and it’s time to do something about it.”

Defendants in the lawsuit include DOC Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Mississippi State Superintendent Marshall Turner. On January 9, Spiro sent a letter to Hall and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on behalf of Jay-Z and rapper Yo Gotti (Mario Mims). The letter called out and protested the “inhumane conditions in prisons operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.”

Spiro’s letter reads, “This unthinkable spate of deaths is the culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect at Mississippi’s prisons.” It also stated, “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.” 

The previously mentioned lawsuit also explicitly states three prison inmates who were killed this year at the state penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi: Walter Gates, Roosevelt Holliman, and Denorris Howell.

In closing the letter read: “Roc Nation and its philanthropic arm, Team Roc, demand that Mississippi take immediate steps to remedy this intolerable situation.”

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