Federal Court rules MDOC violated prisoners' rights
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves has ruled that the Mississippi Department of Corrections is violating the Eighth Amendment rights of the prisoners at Walnut Grove Correctional Facility by failing to protect them from violence.
In his decision, Reeves noted that gangs controlled Walnut Grove and that prison guards plotted with them, which lead to leaving prisoners vulnerable to attack and fostering conditions for two riots in the past year.
The judge ordered the department and MTC, which is the for-profit prison corporation the State pays to operate Walnut Grove, to implement basic safety measures to end gang control as well as violence by guards against prisoners at Walnut Grove.
The ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center and McDuff & Byrd represented the prisoners in the class action suit over the violence.
“We are very pleased with the court's decision today,” said Jody Owens, managing attorney for the SPLC's Mississippi office. “This is an important ruling for all current and future prisoners held inside the privately operated facility. We look forward to the continued role the court will play to ensure that prison officials uphold their constitutional obligations to provide a safe and humane environment for inmates at Walnut Grove Correctional Facility.”
“With this federal court ruling, the Mississippi Department of Corrections must step up to its responsibility under the Constitution and protect the prisoners of Walnut Grove from violence,” said Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the ACLU's National Prison Project. “The department can no longer sit back and let a for-profit prison company neglect the prisoners' safety on the state's dime. We will make sure that this historic judgment is enforced, and we hope its impact will be felt not only at Walnut Grove but at prisons throughout the state.”
Saturday, March 24 2018 1:58 AM EDT2018-03-24 05:58:08 GMT
Saturday, March 24 2018 9:58 AM EDT2018-03-24 13:58:30 GMT
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