Lawsuit Against Mississippi Prison Is the Stuff of Nightmares

In the solitary confinement unit of East Mississippi Correctional Facility, it’s common for inmates to set some clothing or an old milk carton on fire to get an officer’s attention when they are in desperate need of a doctor—or if, say, their cell has been flooded by a broken pipe. Otherwise, it might be days before anyone took notice, according to a class-action lawsuit filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The fires sometimes got the guards’ attention, but not always in the way the inmates were hoping: At least one inmate, the suit claims, was maced by a corrections officer through his feeding slot. EMCF is a private, for-profit prison that houses seriously mentally ill patients, and the ACLU’s lawsuit reads like a catalog of horrors.

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