SUNFLOWER COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – A public health expert who walked the halls of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman in the early months of 2020 is speaking about their findings.
A lawsuit filed June 8 by attorneys from Team Roc show the “unconstitutional and inhumane conditions” people have been talking about for months.
Dr. Marc Stern, expert in Correctional Healthcare at University of Washington School of Public Health, said conditions there are what make for people dying.
“By far, this is the worst jail or prison I’ve seen in the United States in 20 years. I’ll even say that I’ve rarely seen jails or prisons in such poor condition, and when I say poor condition, I mean having to live in poor conditions.”
Stern said when the team visited Parchman, they could only see certain areas of the prison. Those areas included Unit 26, 29, 30, 32, the kitchen and the medical-dental office.
He said through this tour, it was evident Parchman is no place to safely house inmates.
“I was walking through some of the living units while it was raining outdoors, and it was raining indoors. Also, imagine your toilet is in your bedroom. And 24 hours a day for days on end and some of them said weeks on end, the toilet is running. On the other hand, there were residents who said they’ve gone days, if not weeks, without running water in the their cell.”
Stern also explained how inmates are not receiving quality medical care and medical records are incomplete.
“When they get to the appointment, they’re very often seen by an unqualified or unlicensed person like an EMT or lower level nurse who’s not licensed to do the complex things required when you see a doctor. Then, I saw instances where the doctor would order something to be done like, insulin that a patient needed, but they didn’t get it.”
According to the lawsuit, 24 out of 33 plaintiffs have been transferred since the suit was filed.
12 News reached out to the Mississippi Department of Corrections for a statement on the lawsuit. However, they said they cannot discuss pending litigation.
Note: The images below some may deem graphic.