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The City of Jackson is the Latest Mississippi Community Seeking a Teen Curfew

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 26 Nov 2012 08:07pm | comments

The city of Jackson is considering a youth curfew law. It's part of what many cities across the state are using to fight crime and protect its youngest population. But as MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports the practice of a teen curfew is receiving mixed reviews.


A citywide curfew that would band anyone under 17 years old from being in any public place after 11pm and before 6am is back on the drawing board for the Jackson City Council. As the details of the ordinance are being worked out Council President Tony Yarber says he anticipates a number of roadblocks.


"I really don't know how we would be able to put forth a very functional curfew ordinance because as it stands we would be able to enforce it. There's nowhere to take children if we do have a curfew ordinance in place. But most of all its just another way to criminalize children."


While Jackson is debating a youth curfew,   Moss Point Chief of Police, Keith Davis says  his city has seen tremendous change since initiating their teen curfew over a year ago.


"We've seen a reduction in the number of children hanging out late at night and actually we've seen a reduction in our crime statistics in terms of burglaries and malicious mischief. So I think it's been a tremendous benefit by making our children go home at a reasonable time."


With the capitol city looking to enact its own curfew law, Nancy Kohsin -Kintigh, with the ACLU of Mississippi is offering a word of warning.  


"Suggesting that young people that are out after a certain hour are doing something bad is not the direction that the city of Jackson should be taking. And also constitutionally it violates students first amendment rights and 14th amendment rights. And so you and I have the same rights as you and I to move about their communities and the right to travel."


The Jackson City Council Planning Committee will hold additional public hearings on the youth curfew issue in the coming weeks. In the meantime, dozens of communities  across Mississippi already have youth curfew ordinances in place.  Lawayne Childrey MPB News.




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