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Criminal Justice Reform
Landmark Case

Date Filed

February 21, 2002

When Alabama correctional guards handcuffed Larry Hope to a metal hitching post and left him shirtless, virtually without water, and without bathroom breaks in the Alabama sun for seven hours, they should have known that their actions were unlawful, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

March 21, 2012

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Polk County youth, which charges that Polk County detains youth charged as juveniles under adult standards. It also charges that Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd allows guards to brutalize children and fails to provide these youth with adequate educational and rehabilitative services.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

March 29, 2004

Linda Barrera Cano, 11, was taken from her mother, Felipa Barrera, and placed in foster care after her immigrant mother was ordered to learn English in six months or risk losing her daughter.

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...

Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

February 14, 2019

The Trump administration violated its obligations under both U.S. and international law when it instituted a policy forcing asylum seekers to return to Mexico to wait for their hearings in immigration court. The SPLC and its allies filed a federal lawsuit to end the policy.

The lawsuit,...

Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

February 21, 2019

On April 5, 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, executed the largest workplace immigration raid in nearly a decade, detaining approximately 100 Latino workers at an east Tennessee meat...

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

Date Filed

May 10, 2019

On behalf of six students at the Sophie B. Wright Charter School in Orleans Parish, La., the SPLC sought an injunction in state court to halt disciplinary actions resulting from a senior prank. Following a water balloon fight that caused no serious injuries, the students were suspended for five...

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