Court Watch - POSTED: 2011/03/17 14:57
A federal court in Mississippi has permanently dismissed a 1971 lawsuit filed against the state over prison conditions.
The case found that a range of corporal punishment practices used against prisoners at Parchman violated the Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.
"Conditions for confinement were atrocious in 1970 and that was especially true of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman," Mississippi corrections commissioner Christopher Epps said in a news release Wednesday. "The MDOC has worked for 40 years to alleviate these conditions with a special emphasis during the last nine years."
The court said that Mississippi has reformed its prison system to make facilities more humane and to protect inmates from such systemic abuses, according to a March 10 order.
"The final dismissal of the suit is the result of 40 years of improvements within the culture of the state prison system and good faith cooperation among the state, the federal government, and plaintiffs," Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, said Wednesday.