A lawsuit backed by Jay-Z, Yo Gotti and Team ROC has caused a prison healthcare provider to cut ties with a Mississippi prison.
The rappers helped 227 inmates at Parchman Prison get legal representation so they could file a class-action lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Nathan Burl Cain and prison healthcare provider Centurion.
The suit claimed the inmates were being held in subpar living conditions, including the presence of black mould and vermin, limited access to showers, a water system contaminated with human faeces and more. Inmates also claimed protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were not being followed, and that the kitchen facilities and food available to them were not acceptable.
Now, Pitchfork reports Centurion is set to terminate its contract on October 5, 2020. The company’s CEO, Steven H. Wheeler, said in a memo filed in the District court for the Northern District of Mississippi: “We do not believe we can further improve the effectiveness of our level of care without additional investment from the Department in correctional staffing and infrastructure along the lines of what we have already recommended.”
Team ROC attorney Marcy Croft said in a statement they hoped Centurion’s decision would “send a clear message to Governor Tate Reeves – it’s time to invest in the health and well-being of the people in your prisons.”
“There is no excuse for the 53 deaths across the Mississippi prison system over the past several months, many of which were preventable,” Croft continued. “We will not stop until the incarcerated receive consistent and competent medical care, especially now with the COVID-19 crisis. This must be a priority.”
When filing the lawsuit last month, Yo Gotti said: “The situation in Parchman is dire. More and more of the incarcerated population are reaching out for help and pleading for immediate medical attention, especially as the coronavirus threatens their lives.”
Meanwhile, Jay-Z was one of a number of stars to call for a case into the death of Danroy “DJ” Henry to be re-opened. Henry was shot and killed by police officer Aaron Hess on October 17, 2010 in Pleasantville, New York.