Hip-hop impresario Jay-Z and rap star Yo Gotti threatened two top state officials in Mississippi with a lawsuit because of abhorrent and “inhumane” prison conditions in the state.
The two hip-hop heavyweights penned a scorching letter late last week promising that they will sue the state if prison conditions aren’t improved.
Mississippi prisons have come under intense national scrutiny and pressure following another outbreak of deadly gang violence that left five dead — while one man remains missing — in Mississippi prisons.
The letter, addressed to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall, mentions frequent prison lockdowns, violence, a staffing shortage and inmates who “are forced to live in squalor, with rats that crawl over them as they sleep on the floor, having been denied even a mattress for a cot.”
Yo Gotti resoundingly denounced the prison conditions in his native state as “absolutely inhumane and unconstitutional.”
“To see this happen so close to my hometown of Memphis is truly devastating,” the rapper’s statement said. “That’s why we’re calling on Mississippi state leaders to take immediate action and rectify this issue. If they don’t right this wrong, we’re prepared to take legal action to provide relief for those that are incarcerated and their families.”
The governor has yet to respond to repeated media inquiries about the matter.
Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro told the Clarion-Ledger that the rap mogul is in contact with “folks on the ground and people within the prison system,” Spiro said.
“We are exploring a variety of civil rights claims and constitutional claims that the prison system and the government is violating the Eighth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act,” Spiro told the newspaper