New lawsuit backed by Jay-Z, Yo Gotti slams ‘barbaric’ Mississippi prison conditions

first_imgDNY59/iStock(GREENVILLE, Miss.) — For the second time in about a month, hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Yo Gotti are financially backing a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi prison system, bringing the number of inmates complaining of being subjected to “barbaric” conditions to 181.The new lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greenville, Mississippi, on behalf of 152 inmates, most of them serving time at the state’s largest and most notorious prison in Parchman.Since late December, at least 19 inmates have died in Mississippi’s four state-run prisons, including seven killed in homicides and three by suicide, officials said.Addressing conditions at the Parchman prison, the new lawsuit blames understaffing and poor funding for decades of problems.“As a result, prisoners endure abhorrent conditions, abuse and constant violence, inadequate health care and mental health care, and overuse of isolation,” the lawsuit states.“The conditions of confinement at Parchman are so barbaric, the deprivation of health and mental health care so extreme, and the defects in security so severe, that the people confined at Parchman live a miserable and hopeless existence confronted daily by imminent risk of substantial harm in violation of their rights under the U.S. Constitution,” the suit alleges.Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment company and Yo Gotti also published a full-page ad in the New York Times directly addressed to Mississippi’s new governor Tate Reeves, saying, “this is now part of your legacy.”“We need to be blunt: the alarming humanitarian crisis currently overwhelming Parchman Prison is spiraling out of control. We’ve heard you talk about bold and immediate action; now we need to see results before more lives are destroyed. The situation is critical,” the ad reads.It goes on to mention the nearly two dozen “senseless deaths” in the prisons since Dec. 29, and the “countless injuries and untold cases of mental and physical terrorism inflicted on inmates.”“Given those tragedies, if you don’t act decisively, Parchman will soon be the site of a human catastrophe the likes of which the United States hasn’t see in a generation,” the ad reads. “If animals in the Jackson [Mississippi] Zoo were treated in such a way, you would immediately shutter it and launch an investigation.”Last month Jay-Z and Yo Gotti financially supported a similar lawsuit filed on behalf of 29 Mississippi prison inmates. The federal suit, filed on Jan. 16, alleges the prisoners’ “lives are in peril” and claims that recent deaths were a “direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights.”In addition to the new lawsuit, Jay-Z’s company released a YouTube video containing footage inmates took with contraband cell phones showing conditions in Parchman, including prison cells with no working toilets or running water, and other cells with leaking roofs. The video also showed a prisoner beating and chasing another prisoner through a cellblock with no guards in sight.The video includes interviews with relatives of prisoners who have recently died in the penitentiaries, including the mother and sister of inmate A.D. “Buddy” Mills who, according to prison officials, died on Jan. 8 from natural causes at age of 42.Mills’ sister, Claudia Mills, said her brother suffered from diabetes and kidney failure. She said he died of renal failure.“He was in Parchman 25 days, sick, we not knowing if he was getting his medicine or anything, not knowing if he was getting the proper care,” Mills says in the video. “We know that he wasn’t. We’ve been sent some videos [of] people crying out to help him.”Janice Sherman said in the video that her nephew, Joshua Norman, 26, was found dead hanging in his cell at Parchman on Jan. 26, four days after she assured him in a phone conversation that officials were working to improve conditions at the prison, which she described as “the scariest place on Earth.”“That was pretty devastating,” she said of receiving the phone call that her nephew was dead. “It was my worst nightmare because it was never … just never expected it. I knew there were struggles. I knew there were issues but I never lost hope of the possibility that he’d be OK.”Alarmed by a string of murders, suicides and cellblock riots, the Department of Justice announced on Feb. 6 that it was launching a civil rights investigation of the Mississippi prison system.DOJ officials said the probe by the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section is focusing on “whether the Mississippi Department of Corrections adequately protects prisoners from physical harm at the hands of other prisoners at the four prisons, as well as whether there is adequate suicide prevention, including adequate mental health care and appropriate use of isolation at Parchman.”Besides Parchman, the DOJ is investigating conditions at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville.The DOJ investigation was initiated about a month after 11 prisoner advocacy groups — including the American Civil Liberty Union of Mississippi, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP — sent the agency a 23-page letter asking the federal government to investigate the state’s prison system.“Mississippi is deliberately and systematically subjecting people in its care to a substantial risk of serious harm due to understaffing, in violation of the rights secured and protected by the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and it is no exaggeration to say lives will be lost absent of immediate intervention,” reads the letter, which was also signed by U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.Mississippi’s new governor, Tate Reeves, who took office on Jan. 14, has made fixing the prison system a major focus of his administration.One of the first things Reeves did as governor was visit the troubled prisons and announce a series “common sense” changes, including a crackdown on contraband cellphones, which, he said, have been used to coordinate violence throughout the prison system. He’s also started a process to weed out guards who are corrupt or have gang affiliations.He immediately deployed maintenance teams to Parchman to improve conditions he called “terrible.” In his first State of the State address, Reeves announced he had ordered the closing of the notorious Unit 29 at Parchman, where a deadly riot broke out in early January and thrust the crisis into the national spotlight. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Toy story

first_imgScientists have long studied how atoms and molecules structure themselves into intricate clusters. Unlocking the design secrets of nature offers lessons in engineering artificial systems that could self-assemble into desired forms.In the Jan. 29 edition of Science, a team from Harvard led by Vinothan Manoharan and Michael Brenner presents additional clues to how and why groups of atoms and molecules may favor less symmetrical and more complex, flexible geometric patterns.Click here to view a video of a six-particle cluster transitioning from an octahedral to a polytetrahedral configuration.The answer relates to a familiar concept in physics called entropy, the ways in which particles are able to arrange themselves. The researchers first caught sight of the link by using magnetic  “stick and ball” construction toys that can make varying shapes.Manoharan, associate professor of chemical engineering and physics in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Physics, and his colleagues used colloidal particles, a suspended chemical mixture seen in semi-solid foods such as mayonnaise, to simulate the clustering behavior of atoms and molecules.“To allow clusters to form, we put a few tiny polystyrene spheres in microscopic cylindrical wells filled with water. The particles act as  ’sticky’ hard spheres and naturally cluster together just like groups of nearby interacting atoms and molecules do,” said Manoharan.The researchers expected that simple, highly symmetric shapes would arise most often. Instead, two surprising, related, and scalable phenomena arose when the number of particles used in their experiments reached six or rose above nine.Six particles can form into a symmetrical octahedron and into a more complex tri-tetrahedron shape. In terms of chemical structure, each shape results in 12 bonds, and hence, has the same amount of potential energy. With the potential energy being equal, Manoharan and colleagues thought that both shapes would occur in equal proportion. They found, however, that the tri-tetrahedron occurs 20 times more often than the octahedron.“The only possible explanation was entropy,” said Manoharan. “Most people are familiar with entropy as a measure of  ‘disorder,’ but the most useful definition of entropy is simply the number of differentways a bunch of particles can arrange themselves.”Natalie Arkus, a former applied mathematics graduate student who worked with Brenner, the Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics, provided a hint to solving the puzzle, as she discovered a method to calculate all the possible structures that could be formed using geometric magnetic toys made up of magnetic metal rods and silver ball bearings.Since there are more ways for the complicated tri-tetrahedron structure to form (something that can be seen by labeling the toy spheres and counting the ways they can be put together), the shape appears far more frequently than the octahedron. In general, among clusters with the same potential energy, highly symmetric structures are less likely to arise.The researchers also found that when the number of particles reaches nine or higher, entropy plays another important role.Because the number of possible structures with nine or more particles is vast, the team focused on what are called nonrigid, or flexible, structures. Nonrigidity occurs when a cluster is half octahedral and shares at least one vertex, allowing the cluster to twist without  breaking or forming another bond (something also easily seen by using the toys).“Because they can move flexibly, the nonrigid clusters have high vibrational entropy,” explained Manoharan. “In cases with nine or more particles, symmetric clusters do not appear as often due to rotational entropy. The ability to rotate is useful, as it allows clusters to have extra bonds.”As a general rule, the team found that for all clusters up to eight particles and a select number of structures with up to 12, the most symmetric structures occurred the least often due to entropy.“Our findings illustrate, in a tangible way, what the concept of entropy means,” said Manohran.Looking ahead, the researchers are interested in using their results to understand the emergence of bulk crystallization, or how particles come together in the early stages of forming a crystal.Manoharan and Brenner’s co-authors included Guangnan Meng, a research associate in the Department of Physics at Harvard University, and Natalie Arkus, a graduate of SEAS and now a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University. The authors acknowledge support from theNational Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.last_img read more

AUDIO: Drug rehabilitation expert slams festival pill testing proposal

first_imgAudio Player00:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.A drug rehabilitation expert says implementing pill testing at festivals is ludicrous.Four people were hospitalised after taking MDMA at Auckland’s Listen In concert on Friday night.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is backing festival pill testing, but National and New Zealand First oppose it.Shalom House CEO Peter Lyndon-James told Mike Hosking it will encourage more people to engage in pill taking, and potentially further drug consumption.

French Cup: Six-goal PSG zoom into semi-finals as Lyon knock out Marseille

first_img Thiago Silva added a third four minutes after the break with a header from a corner before Pablo Sarabia ended Dijon’s resistance by pushing home his 11th of the season on the rebound. Senou Coulibaly watched on in horror with five minutes left when Mbappe’s cross looped off his thigh over helpless stopper Runar Alex Runarsson, before Sarabia tapped home his second in stoppage time from another Mbappe centre. Later, Lyon coach Rudi Garcia knocked his former side Marseille out as Houssem Aouar scored an 81st minute winner. The winning goal came 10 minutes after Lyon’s Moussa Dembele had a penalty – awarded when Hiroki Sakai handled a shot from Karl Toko Ekambi – saved by Yohan Pele in the Marseille goal. Paris Saint-Germain cruised into the semi-finals of the French Cup on Wednesday after thumping Dijon 6-1 in a match that saw the French champions benefit again from comical own goals. PSG were ahead just 47 seconds after kick off thanks to Wesley Lautoa shanking Mitchel Bakker’s low cross into his own net to the bemusement of his teammates. Senou Coulibaly could do nothing as Mbappe’s cross flicked off his thigh and into his own net It was the second own goal in a week to be scored for PSG, who also saw Lyon’s Fernando Marcal slam a stunning effort past his own goalkeeper at the weekend. However the hosts were level in the 13th minute thanks to a impressive low curling effort from Mounir Chouiar, which squeezed past Kaylor Navas. While the away side were far from full strength, with Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi on the bench and Neymar not even in the squad, Thomas Tuchel’s team did include Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, who was making his first start in over a month after nearly moving to Atletico Madrid in January. The Uruguayan was left waiting his 200th goal for the club in the 21st minute when he turned home Thomas Meunier’s cross, only for the strike to be ruled out for handball by the Belgian after a VAR check. “It’s not that bad because he can score his 200th goal on Saturday (against Amiens) or Tuesday (against Borussia Dortmund). I can feel he’s there,” said Tuchel. On the match, he added: “I’m happy because we deserved the victory. It’s a huge performance.” Mbappe put PSG ahead a minute before the break, punishing Jhonder Cadiz’s miss when clean through seconds before by clinically slotting home a similar chance. Read Also: PSG plotting shock freebie move for unsettled Barcelona star  It was the third time this season that Dembele had missed from the spot for Lyon. On Thursday, fourth division side Epinal – last 16 conquerers of Lille – will look to continue their stunning cup run going when they host Saint-Etienne. They will try to succeed where fellow fourth-tier outfit Belfort failed following their 3-0 defeat to holder Rennes on Tuesday. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Loading…last_img read more


first_imgIn the early days when I was coaching, it was up to the coach to find transportation to away contests unless it was basketball or football.  This meant that kids usually were asked to drive.  No one seemed to be too concerned about liability, but as I think back now, what a risk we were taking.  In some cases you had kids driving who only had a license for a few months.  Fortunately, in the late 70’s, schools started buying vans and the coach could haul as many as 15 kids in these vans.  As I look back, these vans were really not much safer than some of the cars we had kids driving.  They got very top heavy when loaded to the maximum with student athletes.Before I finished coaching, the small buses became the mode of transportation for those sports that had smaller numbers of athletes.  You did not need a special bus license to drive these.  A regular car license sufficed.  These buses were a very stable way to transport kids.  As you know, they are still in use today and most schools have a full fleet of them for getting their athletes to away contests.  Big buses are still available, but in many schools, you must wait until they run their regular routes before they are available.  This means that certain athletic contests can’t begin until 5:30 or later.  Cars were more convenient, but buses are sure safer.last_img read more