MISSISSIPPI ADVOCATES TO LAUNCH NATIONAL
“PRISONERS LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT”
IN RESPONSE TO PARCHMAN PRISON CONDITION ATROCITIES, HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
VIOLATIONS OF U.S. CONSTITUTION PROMPT CALL FOR RESIGNATION OF MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR TATE REEVES
Advocates are available for interview in response to international media reports of human rights abuses within the Mississippi penitentiary system
January 16th 2020
JACKSON, MS – On the heels of international news reports documenting systemic human rights abuses and a wide range of atrocities wrought by chronic underfunding and understaffing within the state penitentiary system, Mississippi advocates have announced plans to launch a national PRISON LIVES MATTER movement. The launch will occur at an event outside the state capital in Jackson, MS.
On January 16th 2020, the New York Times revealed new images previously unseen by the public that prompted the announcement amidst further outrage regarding the subhuman conditions that have led to inmate deaths at Parchman Prison, located about 130 miles North of the state capital.
Quoted in the article was long-time prison rights advocate Albert Sykes, 36, of Jackson, MS, who said in the report that,
“many inmates feared repercussions over cellphones, a lifeline for staying in touch with families, especially as rolling lockdowns caused by staffing shortages have curtailed visitation.”
Now, Sykes and other advocates are planning to hold a press conference at the Mississippi state capital where ex-inmates, family members of current inmates, and community leaders will speak out about the conditions documented by the international media. They will call for immediate reforms including the resignation of Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, who has essentially ignored requests from prison officials for immediate and comprehensive investments to save lives, and to re-establish order and constitutionally compliant conditions within the system.
“The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishments. This amendment was adopted in 1791 with the Bill of Rights and it is a tragedy that people are dying in 2020 because the state and federal governments are violating the Constitution on a daily basis, not just in Parchman, but throughout the Mississippi penitentiary system,” said Sykes.
The founders of the Prison Lives Matter movement released the following initial statement this morning:
“We are here to say that just as black lives matter, prisoner lives matter, and that amidst the unconstitutional human rights atrocities being perpetrated against prisoners across the United States, prison lives must matter regardless of race, color, or creed.
What’s happening in Parchman and around the country is the systemic internal deportation of America’s black and brown citizens to an unconstitutional hell where subhuman conditions are not the exception, but the norm.
The targeted and habitual separation of black and brown families in America is fueled by a state-manufactured lack of visibility into the true conditions endured by prisoners of all races – white, black, brown, or otherwise.
This lack of visibility into the reality of prison lives has created a monolithic and unconstitutional disregard for human life within the criminal justice system, which fuels a vicious cycle of both violence and cruel and unusual punishments that far the original sentences imposed on prisoners by the law, regardless of whether those original sentences were just or unjust.
– FOUNDERS OF THE PRISON LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT
Even before the revelations in the New York Times article, Shawn Corey Carter, known professionally as Jay-Z, announced he would be filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of Mississippi prisoners.
The Prisoners Lives Matter Movement will distribute an advisory shortly providing details of the event it will be organizing outside the Jackson, MS state capital building.
Meanwhile, spokespersons are available for interview.