Jackson Professional Group hosts conversation on criminal justic - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson Professional Group hosts conversation on criminal justice system

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Community and police relations have been in the forefront in mainstream media lately. Jackson Professional Group held a lengthy discussion with a diverse panel about solutions to make it better.

The conversation was held at The Penguin. Jackson residents, local attorneys, judges and Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason discussed a number of items within the criminal justice process Thursday. 

"To bridge the gap, we're training our people to listen first, then talk," said Sheriff Mason.

Those involved discussed re-entry programs for past offenders, how the criminal justice system works and community and police relations. 

"I'm looking at somebody dead in the eye and I say you are hear by sentenced to serve a term of 20 years in custody of MS Department of Corrections and you just don't want to be wrong," said Judge James Graves Jr.

"The goal was to bring kind of a different variety, different perspective because the criminal Justice system involves the police, the attorneys, the judges so we wanted to reflect that in the panel so we have every aspect and then the most important aspect is the citizens, the community so if we got everybody that's engaging the criminal Justice system along with the citizens then we can have a really good conversation about it," said Marcus Williams, an attorney and member of Jackson Professional Group. 

National cases like Sandra Bland, Freedie Gray and Tamir Rice were also discussed.

Organizers wanted a first hand account from law enforcement on what can be done to make sure those situations don't happen in Mississippi. 

"Everybody that's black is not a thief. Don't tighten up the wheel and grab your radio thinking that just because a guy has blue jeans on, a baseball cap, and a t-shirt that he's just broke into a house that could be me," Sheriff Mason explained.

"I thought it was very informative and empowering. It's so good to have everyone come together to discuss these issues that are so important in our community," said Ray Gustavis, who attended the event.

Jackson Professional Group says it plans to have more events to engage the community in the future.  They are aiming for one every other month.

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