DISABILITY RIGHTS MISSISSIPPI STATEMENT ON HENLEY-YOUNG CONSENT DECREE TERMINATION
For more than a decade, Disability Rights Mississippi (DRMS), along with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has monitored conditions at the Henley-Young Patton Juvenile Justice Center in Hinds County, Mississippi. The two agencies filed a class action lawsuit against the facility for inhumane and unconstitutional conditions–including insufficient educational and counseling service and denial of mental health treatment–which resulted in a consent decree.
Over the course of the consent decree, the facility has increased access to mental health care, created new policies, and improved conditions in response to the consent decree. In October 2022, all parties mutually agreed to a termination of the consent decree.
We express our concern regarding Hinds County’s stated intention to increase the number of youth detained at the facility. We will not tolerate a regression of conditions or services due to an increased population in the facility, or for any other reason.
As Mississippi’s federally-mandated protection and advocacy agency, DRMS maintains broad access to the facility and authority to investigate any and all instances of suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Although the consent decree may be formally dissolved, the agency’s monitoring of Henley-Young will not change.
While the consent decree is over, DRMS and SPLC’s commitment to pursuing justice and advancing the human rights for Mississippi’s most vulnerable does not end. Our concern for children detained at Henley-Young continues, and we look forward to the next phase of the critical work of improving outcomes for youth in Hinds County.
DRMS is the federally mandated protection and advocacy (P&A) agency for the state of Mississippi. DRMS’ mission is to promote, protect and advocate for the legal and human rights of all people with disabilities, and to assist them with full inclusion in home, community, education, and employment.