DOJ finds evidence of unconstitutional conditions at Mississippi state prison

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke says the department’s civil rights division found that practices at the facility, also known as Parchman, violated the 8th and 14th Amendments by failing to provide adequate mental health treatment, failing to protect people at risk of self-harm, subjecting people to prolonged isolation in solitary confinement and failing to protect people from violence at the hands of other inmates.

Twelve individuals incarcerated at Parchman died by suicide in the past three years and 10 others have been victims of homicide, according to the Justice Department’s report.

CNN has reached out to Parchman officials for comment. The Mississippi Department of Corrections declined to comment on the Justice Department’s findings.

“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. We are committed to taking action that will ensure the safety of all people held at Parchman and other state prison facilities. We look forward to working with state officials to institute comprehensive reforms.”

The investigation began in February 2020. The department says it is still conducting investigations into the Southern Mississippi Correctional Institution, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.

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