Jackson revisits curfew ordinance - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson revisits curfew ordinance

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Roslyn Anderson - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – Jackson city leaders are again addressing a curfew for children 17 years old and under.

What will happen if your child is caught by Jackson police wandering the streets when during school hours or late at night?

That's a question members of the planning committee are hoping to answer as they craft a new curfew ordinance.

Jackson police had problems with the previous ordinance.

They are required to take the children to the Henley Young Youth Detention Center in Jackson.

"Children were taken to the Henley Young Center. Sometimes they were full and police had to babysit the child until they could locate a parent," said Jackson city attorney Michelle Purvis.

Ward six Councilman Tony Yarber, who is also a Jackson principal, has concerns about students who are suspended, expelled or simply skipping school being placed in the detention center.

"What happens to them once they have been picked up, and it's understood once they get to Henley Young that there is no where to put them," asked Yarber.

Representatives from the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Operation Shoestring and Jackson Public Schools recommended the use of churches and community centers, as well as establishing night time reporting centers and safe spaces to house curfew offenders.

They object to housing them in the youth detention center with convicted criminal offenders.

"Henley Young has a history of holding some of the kids over 24 hours as a result Mississippi is being withheld from 20 percent of our federal dollars," said Mississippi Juvenile Justice Advisor Alfred Martin.

Henley Young officials say they can't handle the curfew offenders because they are dealing with overcrowding, not enough officers and future employee furloughs.

"Henley Young is experiencing budget shortfalls we can not fund everything that we would like to fund. So if additional children are placed in the facility that would make our situation even worse," said Hinds County Board Attorney Crystal Martin.

No action was taken.

The legal department and opposing organizations will work together on rewriting the proposed ordinance.

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