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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.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

July 10, 2012

Almost two years after finding that Mississippi’s Jackson Public School District violated federal special education law, the Mississippi Department of Education had failed to hold the district accountable and ensure that its students with disabilities were receiving services required by federal law. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal class action lawsuit in 2012 against the department on behalf of these students.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

October 19, 2009

Children and teens held at the Lauderdale County Juvenile Detention Center in Mississippi were subjected to shockingly inhumane treatment. The youths endured physical and mental abuse as they were crammed into small, filthy cells and tormented with pepper spray for minor infractions. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued Lauderdale County and reached a settlement agreement to end the abuses.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

May 30, 2007

The Holmes County School District in Mississippi was systematically violating the rights of students with disabilities by failing to provide them with the educational services required under federal law. The district has agreed to a plan that will help ensure students with disabilities are identified and given educational services required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.

Children's Rights
Active Case

Date Filed

May 23, 2017

Mississippi has repeatedly violated a nearly 150-year-old, legally binding obligation to operate a “uniform system of free public schools” for all children, an obligation placed on the state as a condition of rejoining the Union after the Civil War.

Mississippi enshrined this requirement...

Children's Rights

Date Filed

July 11, 2007

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit on behalf of mentally ill girls living at the Columbia Training School who were shackled, physically and sexually abused, and provided with inadequate mental health treatment.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

March 10, 2010

Mississippi's mental health system is failing children from low-income households. The state fails to invest in community-based services and instead pumps the bulk of its resources into ineffective, expensive institutions. Parents are often forced to choose between hospitalizing their children or foregoing mental health services altogether.

Children's Rights
Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

June 02, 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.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

April 13, 2004

At Columbia Training School, one of Mississippi's abusive juvenile prisons, a policy made it nearly impossible for injured children to speak with attorneys who are willing to help.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

December 15, 2003

Originally filed in 1975, this class action lawsuit is aimed at improving the education provided to thousands of Mississippi schoolchildren with educational disabilities.

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