Federal judge orders extension of settlement agreement addressing abusive conditions at Mississippi youth facility

A federal judge has held Hinds County, Miss., officials in contempt of court for failing to comply with a 2012 settlement agreement addressing abusive conditions at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center, the SPLC announced today.

The judge extended the agreement Friday by two years to allow more time for officials to comply with it. The SPLC requested the extension, which will now run through March 28, 2016.

“The court’s decision is an important step to ensure the safety and well-being of the more than 300 children who pass through Henley-Young each year,” said SPLC Staff Attorney Corrie Cockrell. “We will continue to work with Hinds County officials to improve conditions in the facility for these children.”

The SPLC filed a federal class action lawsuit against Hinds County in June 2011 after finding children were being denied mental health services and subjected to verbal abuse and threats of physical harm by staff members at the facility in Jackson. The children were forced to stay in small cells for 20 to 23 hours every day with little human contact, exercise or access to education and rehabilitation programs.

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