3 Prisons Caught Violating The U.S. Constitution

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(PartiallyPolitics.com) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has revealed alarming findings regarding three Mississippi prisons, stating that these institutions have breached constitutional mandates through their perpetuation of violence, substandard conditions, and lack of adequate staff. The comprehensive 60-page document, unveiled by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Mississippi, scrutinizes the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, South Mississippi Correctional Institution, and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.

This investigation highlights that the conditions within these prisons infringe upon the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. Kristen Clarke, an assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, remarked on the persistent and systemic issues fostering violent and unsafe environments for inmates within these facilities, emphasizing the urgent need for reform.

Rampant violence is a significant concern, with the report documenting a stark number of assaults and fights across the institutions, some necessitating hospital treatment outside the prison walls. The report underscores the failure of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) to safeguard its incarcerated population from such violence.

Additionally, the report sheds light on sexual violence, estimating a high volume of complaints and detailing instances where victims’ pleas for protective custody were ignored, further endangering their safety. The pervasive influence of gangs within these facilities was also noted, with a significant portion of the population across the prisons identified as gang-affiliated, exacerbating the challenges of maintaining safety and control.

The DOJ’s findings also critique the use of prolonged solitary confinement, pointing out the severe physical and psychological risks associated with such practices, including increased incidents of suicide and self-harm among those isolated.

Following these revelations, the DOJ has proposed several remedial measures to address the dire situation. These recommendations include improving hiring practices for correctional officers, eliminating the use of incarcerated individuals for security tasks, and ensuring that staff handling sexual abuse allegations receive specialized training. Additionally, they advocate for providing adequate medical and mental health care to those in restrictive housing, especially when signs of mental health deterioration are evident.

In response to the DOJ’s findings, the MDOC has highlighted its ongoing efforts to enhance staffing and operational improvements, despite disagreeing with the report’s conclusions. Kate Head, a spokesperson for the MDOC, emphasized the department’s commitment to collaborating with the DOJ to find solutions that will improve inmate safety and overall facility management.

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