The entertainers and social justice organization submitted documents this week that outline the ways Parchman personnel have put inmates' lives at risk amid the coronavirus pandemic. Jay, Gotti, and their attorneys claim that as of July 30, 2020, only 132 of the 2,034 inmates at Parchman had been tested for the potentially fatal disease. Of those tests, about 33 percent came back positive, and one of the infected inmates died this past week.
The duo and Team Roc say Parchman's high infection rate and virus-related death was due to the prison's noncompliance with coronavirus guidelines. They are now urging the State of Mississippi to compel the facility to implement stricter protocols when it comes to screening and quarantine measures.
According to the documents obtained by Complex, Parchman had moved three incarcerated individuals who had not yet received the results of their coronavirus tests. The inmates were allegedly transferred to different units occupied by others who were not suspected of carrying the virus; it wasn't until after the move that prison personnel learned the three men had tested positive. Jay, Gotti, and Team ROC say Parchman recklessly exposed inmates to the disease by choosing to move the three individuals without confirming the results of their tests.
Team ROC attorneys go on to claim Parchman employees do not "verbally screen attorney visitors, and did not screen staff at the entrance to the facility." They also say some prison employees were spotted without personal protective equipment, inmates were not informed about the Mississippi Department of Corrections' copay waiver, and that some inmates were physically threatened after they mentioned their health issues to correctional officers.
"It’s a travesty that Parchman continues to neglect the lives of the people in their prisons and expose them to the deadly COVID-19 virus," Team ROC attorney Marcy Croft said. "Not only are they failing to comply with the basic COVID-19 prevention and testing protocols, but they’re recklessly spreading the virus within the prison by housing infected people with healthy ones. We even have concerns that our attorneys may have been exposed while visiting Parchman, which is why we’re calling for immediate transparency and stricter compliance."
TMZ was the first to report this story.