MDOC Hit with Lawsuit Over Facility ConditionsBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 31 May 2013 05:11am |
The Mississippi Department of Corrections is facing another lawsuit over accusation of deplorable conditions and mistreatment at a prison. Families of the prisoners say they are being housed in unsafe and unsanitary conditions and being denied mental health care.
Katie Autry is a Mississippi mother who says her son is being mistreated and denied mental health care at East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian and she wants conditions at the prison to change.
"Please, please don't put a price tag on our loved ones, make sure they are getting the help they desperately need. I beg y'all. Please help them," said Autry.
Wearing red shirts reading 'Don't put a price tag on our loved ones', Autry and a group of parents of inmates called on the Mississippi Department of Corrections to take over the prison which is currently run by the private prison company Management and Training Corporation.
"I am just concerned about the treatment of his civil rights. Even though a crime was committed, I feel like when you are incarcerated you should be treated like a human being. And if you need medication your are supposed to be administered medication," Autry said.
The ACLU and Southern Poverty Law center has filed a law suit against the prison on behalf of the inmates.
SPLC attorney Jody Owens says the prison is rat-infested, poorly managed, hyper violent and plagued by rape.
"Inmate who have to defecate in trash bags and in food trays. They have toilets in unsanitary conditions where if one inmate flushes, feces comes in other inmate's toilets," Owens said.
The prison houses 1.500 of some of Mississippi's most mentally-ill inmates.
The group says the profit motive for private prison operators is leading to poor conditions.
Tara Booth with the Department of Corrections says the department will not discuss pending litigation outside court.
"The department of corrections has not been served with the complaint. But MDOC will respond to the allegations in court," Booth said.
In an email, the Management and Training Corporation says theywill not comment on the lawsuit since they were not named as defendants .
However, the company says they are working hard to improve conditions at the facility since they took over 10 months ago.
The company also operates the Marshall County Correctional Facility, Walnut Groove Youth facility and will soon run the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.
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