“Meridian, Miss., is running a ‘school-to-prison pipeline,’ using the city police as a ‘taxi service,’ the federal Department of Justice charges.”
That’s the takeaway in a Juvenile Justice Information Exchange blog post about a troubling Department of Justice study. It’s why the DOJ is considering a federal lawsuit against the city of Meridian, Mississippi.
The 8-month federal investigation alleges that children are being pushed into the juvenile detention system for infractions that could be taken care of by schools.
What’s even more disturbing… are the conditions these children enter once detained.
The Meridian case further illustrates how the DOJ has shifted some of its focus to juvenile justice issues.
In April 2012, this same division of the Dept. of Justice released a report on its five-year investigation of the Shelby County Juvenile Court. Although the findings were not as grave as those in Mississippi, the DOJ noted similar concerns regarding due process, independence of the defense function and the disproportionate detention of African American children.
In response to the findings in Shelby County, the Public Defender’s office and other local officials are leading an effort to reform juvenile justice in Shelby County.
As Shelby County moves toward a more just Juvenile Court, JustCity will continue to bring you stories of juvenile justice reform.