Today, the ACLU announced that it is filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, a private prison in Meridian, Mississippi. The suit alleges that EMCF is "hyper-violent, grotesquely filthy and dangerous." One example of the jail's dangers: this handwritten letter from an inmate describing his own rape.
According to the new lawsuit, the EMCF— a prison that holds "hundreds of mentally ill prisoners"— is rat-infested, poorly managed, hazardous to life and limb, and rife with inhumane conditions. Lights and toilets are broken; suicide attempts are "frequent"; medical care is poor; official supervision is lax. The lawsuit alleges that the staff "sadistically brutalizes" prisoners, and are "deliberately indifferent" to acts of violence against inmates.
That includes acts of sexual assault. The specter of prison rape is frequently raised as a risk of incarceration, but rarely talked about directly. This letter is one inmate's story, in his own words. The letter was sent from an EMCF inmate to the ACLU last year. Also included are excerpts from an investigative report from the Lauderdale County Sheriff's office, as well as an EMCF internal investigative report with more horrific details of the prisoner's ordeal at the hands of knife-wielding, cocaine-sniffing gang rapists. That report finds that the allegations of rape are substantiated by video and physical evidence. The letter, in other words, is true. Names in the letter and reports have been redacted at the ACLU's request.
This is one man's story.
The Sheriff's report
Excerpt of the prison's internal investigative report, finding that the prisoner was physically and sexually assaulted, threatened, and robbed
[Image by Jim Cooke. Photo via Shutterstock]