Court Asked To Order Improvements At A Mississippi Prison
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Inside a cell at EMCF

A prison in Mississippi could be forced to make court ordered improvements following a lawsuit by a watch dog group that claims conditions are so bad it borders on torture.

Two well known legal groups are asking for a class action lawsuit against the East Mississippi Correctional Facility.

Christopher Lindsey is a former inmate of the prison.

In a video released by the ACLU, Lindsey says medical neglect of his glaucoma by staff at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility caused him to lose his eye sight.

"Prison took the main thing I wanted. To see my kids grow up. Now I can't go pick them up or go on a road trip. Can't see them walk down the aisle," Lindsey said.

The ACLU along with the Southern Poverty Law Center are claiming in a lawsuit that Lindsey's case is just the tip of the iceberg for mistreatment, abuse and neglect at the prison.

Elissa Johnson with the Mississippi branch of the SPLC says inmates often lack basic needs like working lights and toilets, are beaten by staff and other inmates, and have their medical and mental health needs ignored.

"Prisoners feel so desperate that they are forced to set fires, cut themselves, or face unnecessary use of force by staff just for the possbility to receive medical attention," Johnson said.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is declining to comment on pending litigation.

Utah-based Management and Training Corporation operates the facility.

A company spokesperson denies the claims and says they have vastly improved conditions since taking over the prison two years ago.

Ajmel Quereshi with the ACLU says they need a class action suit because conditions are deplorable prison wide.

"It is not one prisoner in one unit that faces the risk of being beaten up by staff. It is an endemic staff culture that subjects all prisoners at the facility to the serious risks that exist there," Quereshi said.

Management and Training Corporation runs four prisons in Mississippi, including Walnut Grove Correctional Facility which has also faced lawsuits.