62% of Meridian, Mississippi citizens are black and only 36% of citizens are white. Don’t kid yourself … race has everything to do with this. There is something very WRONG with incarcerating kids because they took a pencil from a teacher’s desk or had a dress code violation. This is not fair and equal and the Mayor and police chief and judges should all be fired summarily.
This is outrageous.
The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange explains what’s going on HERE:
More specifically, the term refers to the pattern in which students who have committed school-based wrongdoing — whether by pushing another child in the hallway, taking a pencil from a teacher’s desk, or disrupting class — are summarily arrested, charged with violating a criminal offense, and prosecuted in juvenile delinquency court. After a judge finds them delinquent, youth are then placed on probation and court-ordered to comply with a long series of conditions, typically including that they not be suspended (or not be suspended again) from school. In many jurisdictions when a juvenile on probation is suspended — even for a minor infraction at school — the consequences of the violation may include incarceration in a detention center.
This is not the first time that Meridian’s mistreatment of children and teens has drawn the attention of authorities. Several years ago, the town’s juvenile detention center was the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A settlement was reached in 2010 that ended the detention center’s policy of confining youth in unsanitary cells for 23 hours each day, punishing them with Mace or pepper spray, and locking them in a mechanical “restraint chair.”
You can see the finding from the Department of Justice HERE; an excerpt:
While the basis for each allegation is described more fully below, in sum, the entities named above help to operate a school-to-prison pipeline, whereby, following referral of students who attend school in the Meridian Public School District (“District”) to law enforcement, the MPD, Youth Court, and DYS administer juvenile justice without regard for their obligations under the United States Constitution. By policy and practice, MPD automatically arrests all students referred to MPD by the District. The children arrested by MPD are then sent to the County juvenile justice system, where existing due process protections are illusory and inadequate. The Youth Court places children on probation, and the terms of the probation set by the Youth Court and DYS require children on probation to serve any suspensions from school incarcerated in the juvenile detention center.
MPD command staff and officers consistently characterized MPD as a “taxi service” for District schools and the Juvenile Center. According to MPD personnel, MPD policy requires officers to automatically arrest a student whenever school staff indicate that they would like to press charges. MPD officers who respond to District referrals do not assess the facts or circumstances of the alleged charge, or whether the alleged conduct actually qualifies as an arrestable offense. Instead, MPD officers routinely handcuff and arrest students without obtaining prior youth court custody orders or making necessary assessments of probable cause.
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