The East Mississippi Correctional Facility keeps mentally ill prisoners in squalid conditions and denies them basic mental health care, the ACLU says in a new lawsuit.
The “special needs” prison is described as a unspeakably disgusting place.
The suit names several state officials as defendants, faulting them for enlisting an allegedly heartless private prison contractor to run the prison. (That contractor, Management & Training Corp., isn’t named in the lawsuit.)
Here are some disturbing details from the lawsuit:
Rats climb over prisoners’ beds in the dark and mice crawl out of broken toilets. The extreme deprivations and extraordinarily harsh conditions at EMCF have even fostered commerce in rats: Some prisoners capture rats, put them in improvised leashes, and sell them as pets to the mentally ill.
Out-of-control mentally ill prisoners allegedly throw excrement around, while rapes and stabbings are rampant. They also allegedly live in cells without lights or working toilets. It is “an extremely dangerous facility operating in a state of perpetual crisis,” the ACLU says.
Many inmates forced to endure these conditions are younger than 18, the ACLU says. Some are as young as 16. One of those 16-year-olds, a boy known only as John Doe, Jr., was put in a solitary cell. He eventually hanged himself with a bed sheet.
A spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections declined to comment.
EMCF’s website says it offers Bible study, art classes, and programs to help inmates stop smoking.
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