Councilman: Jackson needs citywide curfew to protect teens - - Jackson, MS

Councilman: Jackson needs citywide curfew to protect teens

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Jackson City Council could revisit the idea of a citywide curfew for youth this week, prompted by recent crimes involving teens in the Capital City.

"We can't keep watching young people get murdered, and we can't keep watching young people in harm's way," said Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes.

Stokes said in the last week the killing of 16-year-old Devonte McGee and a shooting that left an 18 year old in the hospital shows the need for a curfew.

Years ago, Jackson had such an ordinance in place, but Stokes said it was nixed because of problems housing curfew offenders in separate facilities from status offenders.

"Teenagers get active and get together, and they sometimes have poor judgment," said resident Rick Rhoden, who understands the need for the idea.

Still, he has his reservations.

"I wonder how they're going to enforce it, and how much manpower that it's going to take," Rhoden said.

Considering the curfew would tie up JPD officers who pick up violators and bring them home to their parents, Rhoden seems to make a valid point.

Stokes said in years past, officers reported no parents were home at many residences when they tried to drop off curfew violators.

"You're taking kids basically who're trying to raise themselves and they're just at home by themselves," Stokes said. "We need to identify those parents and we need to identify those families so we can get the state of Mississippi involved through Human Services."

Stokes hopes to get the curfew out of committee purgatory -- where he says it's been for the last two years -- and turned into an ordinance before something else happens in the city.

Rhoden agrees.

"If it saves one life, it'll be worth it," Rhoden said.

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