JACKSON, MS (Ben Caxton) — The United States Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the Mississippi prison system. The move comes after a string of at least 15 deaths that started with a statewide lockdown over the Christmas holiday. According to the Justice Department, their investigators will be specifically looking at conditions at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility to determine whether state corrections officials are adequately protecting prisoners from physical harm and will look into whether there are required health care and suicide prevention services. The state is also facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of prisoners by entertainment mogul Jay-Z and rapper Yo Gotti over conditions in the prisons. The lawsuit says the prisons are “plagued by violence” and inmates are forced to live in decrepit and dangerous conditions.