Mississippi News

DOJ says Parchman conditions are unconstitutional

Mississippi is facing a charge from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that the conditions and practices at its state Penitentiary at Parchman violate the U.S. Constitution. 

In a news release, DOJ said the penitentiary violates the 8th and 14th Amendments. 

Specifically, the findings are that the facility: 

  • fails to provide adequate mental health treatment to people with serious mental health needs;
  • fails to take sufficient suicide prevention measures to protect people at risk of self-harm;
  • subjecting people to prolonged isolation in solitary confinement in egregious conditions that place their physical and mental health at substantial risk of serious harm; and
  • fails to protect incarcerated people from violence at the hands of other incarcerated people.

As required by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), the Justice Department provided the state with written notice of the supporting facts for these findings and the minimum remedial measures necessary to address them in a comprehensive 59-page findings letter.  

“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Clarke. “Our investigation uncovered evidence of systemic violations that have generated a violent and unsafe environment for people incarcerated at Parchman.”

The department’s investigation began in February 2020 and an investigation of conditions at Southern Mississippi Correctional Institution, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility is ongoing. 

The complete news release is found on the Department of Justice website.  

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