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Children's Rights
Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

March 07, 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.

Criminal Justice Reform
Voting Rights
Active Case

Date Filed

March 27, 2018

More than a century ago, Mississippi adopted a state constitution that was specifically intended to prevent freed slaves and their descendants from gaining political influence, in part by blocking their access to the ballot box. Today, a provision of that 1890 constitution – a lifetime voting...

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

January 07, 2011

Since 2007, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Nashville, Tenn., had the power to enforce immigration law through the federal 287(g) program, even though the metropolitan government designated the Nashville Police Department as the primary law enforcement agency. The Southern Poverty Law Center joined a federal lawsuit to end the 287(g) agreement because it violated state and local laws.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

April 20, 2009

Children held at the Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center in Mississippi endured squalid conditions and horrific physical and mental abuse that violated their civil rights. They were forced to endure shackling, physical assaults by staff, confinement to vermin-infested cells and overcrowded, unsanitary conditions that resulted in widespread contraction of scabies and staph infections. The detention center also failed to provide children with adequate medical and mental health care during their confinement. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal class action lawsuit that resulted in a settlement agreement to protect children and teens detained at the center from abuse and neglect.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

December 17, 2013

Destin Holmes was subjected to pervasive anti-LGBT bullying and harassment by fellow students, faculty and even administrators within the schools of Mississippi’s Moss Point School District. The harassment became so severe Destin was eventually driven out of school. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf to end the bullying and harassment in the district.

Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

July 16, 2019

After Florida passed a law prohibiting sanctuary policies and requiring local police to act as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, the Southern Poverty Law Center and its allies filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional and a threat to the state’s most...

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

August 12, 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.

Economic Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

August 14, 2018

Charles Gresham has had trouble finding and keeping work because of issues related to his seizures. He received a notice from the state of Arkansas that if he did not meet a requirement to work 20 hours a week, he would lose his Medicaid coverage. When he tried to report his work hours to the...

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