Yo Gotti Writes Letter To Mississippi Governor Calling Out The ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ In Prisons
"We are asking that they be able to serve their sentences as human beings and not animals."
January 23, 2020 at 12:56 am
Mario Mims, better known by his stage name Yo Gotti, wrote an open letter asking Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves to declare a state of emergency and address what he calls a "humanitarian crisis" unfolding in prisons across the state.
In the letter, the rapper called for the governor to "put the full weight of your office and authority to protect [inmates'] basic human rights." In the last three weeks, two inmates have been beaten to death inside the Parchman state penitentiary, and a total of nine deaths have occurred in other prisons statewide.
"We recognize that there are people incarcerated in the [Mississippi Department of Corrections] for due cause—that they may be considered a danger to society," the letter read. "We are asking that they be able to serve their sentences as human beings and not animals."
Last week, Jay-Z's Team Roc, which co-wrote the letter with Yo Gotti, filed a lawsuit against the head of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, where 29 inmates argued that the state's prison conditions are unconstitutional.
The allegations aren't without merit, as a report released by the state detailed both unsafe and unsanitary conditions. The 150-plus-page report outlined that many Mississippi inmates are living in moldy units without electricity, clean mattresses, or clean water.
"If the goal of incarceration is rehabilitation, how can we ever hope to return these men to society when the extreme neglect and dangerous conditions under which they are subjected strips away every last bit of self-worth?" the letter asked.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Mississippi ranks third in the nation in imprisonment rate, with 1 out of every 200 people in the state behind bars, a statistic that's often cited for the poor conditions in its prisons.