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Children's Rights
Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

June 01, 2011

Children held at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center in Jackson, Miss., were denied mental health services and subjected to verbal abuse and threats of physical harm by staff members. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Disability Rights Mississippi filed a class action lawsuit in June 2011 after numerous attempts to resolve the issues with county officials failed. A settlement agreement to protect youth at the facility was approved in March 2012.

News
March 07, 2011

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Disability Rights Mississippi filed a lawsuit against Forrest County, Miss., to force the county to comply with federal law and provide the children held at the county’s juvenile detention center with access to lawyers and civil rights advocates following reports of abusive conditions at the facility.

Children's Rights
Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

March 06, 2011

The Forrest County Juvenile Detention Center in Mississippi was the site of numerous abuse allegations. Security camera footage from the facility showed youths being slammed into walls and beaten by staffers. When Disability Rights Mississippi (DRMS) attempted to provide the youths with services to protect them from further abuse, Forrest County officials blocked access to them. The Southern Poverty Law Center and DRMS sued the county to force it to comply with federal law and allow DRMS access to the children. After county officials settled the suit by granting access, a second lawsuit was filed challenging the inhumane conditions found at the facility in Hattiesburg. County officials agreed to improve the conditions at the facility as part of a settlement agreement for the second lawsuit.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

November 15, 2010

Staff members at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in Mississippi abused their authority by selling drugs to the youths in their care, brutally beating them and even engaging in sexual relationships with them. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the teenagers and young men held at the facility. A groundbreaking settlement agreement was reached that will ensure children and teens incarcerated in Mississippi will no longer be housed in the privately run prison or subjected to brutal solitary confinement.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

September 07, 2010

Public schools in Jackson, Miss., often failed to provide students with disabilities the services mandated by federal law and needed for these students to succeed in the classroom. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a formal complaint on behalf of these students with the Mississippi Department of Education, which found the district had violated major components of the federal law that ensures students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

August 11, 2010

Mississippi authorities took a newborn baby from her Mexican immigrant mother and placed the daughter with two white Gulf Coast lawyers who frequently practiced law before the youth court judge who approved the child’s removal. The mother was then prohibited from speaking publicly about her family's ordeal despite her request to waive confidentiality rules of the youth court. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the family and appealed the earlier gag order.

News
August 11, 2010

The Southern Poverty Law Center today filed a federal lawsuit against Mississippi authorities who took a newborn baby from a Mexican immigrant mother and placed the child with a white couple. The SPLC also has appealed an earlier gag order that prohibited the mother and her lawyers from speaking publicly about her family’s ordeal despite the mother’s request to waive confidentiality rules of the youth court.

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