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A New Report Cites Major Concern at henley-Young Juvenile justice Center

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 18 Oct 2013 05:08pm | comments

A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows a two year settlement agreement at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center has failed to fully address the abuse of children at the facility.  MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports.  

On any given day dozens of children at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center in Hinds County do not have qualified professionals equipped to handle their mental health problems. That's according to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center. As a result, SPLC staff attorney, Corrie Cockrell says the needs of those children are not being met.

"There continues to be a lack of treatment for children who enter the facility who already have documented mental health needs. And I'm not sure what the county's plans are for getting that process going. But it is outlined in the agreement, certain steps that need to take to make sure that those children are getting the services that they need."

The settlement agreement resulting from a federal lawsuit against the facility by the Southern Poverty Law Center has been in place since 2012. One of the conditions includes improving staffing needs at Henley-Young. Juvenile justice expert, Leonard Dixon is an independent monitor of the facility. He says while the detention facility is not in substantial compliance changes are in progress.  

"There's very few people that have a knowledge base on running institutions. So they've made some improvements because they have hired a new director which I think is very good. And we have to wait and see what that director puts in. Because I know she's putting in programming and we have to see how that works out."

It's a situation that SPLC staff attorney Corrie Cocker says her organization will continue to watch closely.

"There have been some improvements in some other areas as Mr. Dixon outlines in his report. But mental health is not one of those areas. But I know that they have opened up some funding for additional positions at the facility and I'm not quite sure what the issue is with filling those positions."

The report shows that over the past year the Henley Young Juvenile Justice Center has made only partial compliance on 37 of the 71 provisions outlined in the settlement. MPB has made several attempts to get comments from the Hinds County Court Administration . Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.





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