/Hinds County jail still lags on reforms, report finds

Hinds County jail still lags on reforms, report finds

These are among the issues highlighted by the court monitor’s report, released earlier in the month. It shows that, two years after Hinds County signed a federal agreement to reform their jails, the county has not made sufficient progress. Elizabeth E. Simpson, a court monitor, found that the county was not complying with two-thirds of the 92 requirements as stipulated in the 2016 agreement between the county of Hinds County and the U.S. Department of Justice. Pretrial issues were the focus of the initial settlement between Hinds County and the Department of Justice. The county was required to create a criminal justice coordination committee and resolve safety, security, and staffing problems in its Jackson-based jails and the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center. A federal consent decree is also in effect for Hinds County, which was issued as a result of a 2011 lawsuit. It is intended to improve conditions within Henley-Young. The DOJ settlement saw the county begin to transfer all juvenile detainees to Henley Young, instead of housing them in adult facilities. The report states that although placing youths at Henley Young is a “great improvement” over keeping them in Raymond jail, Henley Young has seen an increase in behavior issues among juveniles being charged as adults and a greater use of isolation to address these issues. Simpson stated in his Aug. 1 report that “many of the recommendations in previous reports and/or requirements in the Settlement Agreement haven’t been implemented.” It is therefore not surprising that hopes for a smooth transition are being thwarted by the realities of dealing with older, longer-term youth. Simpson noted in the report that people are still held without charge for more than 90 days. This issue sparked a dispute between Robert Shuler Smith, District Attorney, and Tomie Green, Hinds Circuit Court Judge. Green was accused of releasing suspects in violent crimes without informing his office. Green responded that both agreements “reveal Constitution violations resulting in delays in securing timely Indictments and timely disposal of cases by the prosecutors.” She released a statement. “Significant and very meaningful progress” was made in mental health services. This included better-defined evaluation processes, consistent evaluations and treatment. The original settlement stipulates that Hinds County must keep “substantial compliance with” the agreement for at most two years. Victor Mason, Hinds County Sheriff, who oversees the daily operations at the detention center’s detention facility, didn’t immediately respond to inquiries for comment. Biloxi will host a status conference on the ongoing agreement on Aug. 29.