Biloxi youth jail denies teens claims

Operators of the Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center on Thursday denied abuse and other accusations, and opened up the youth jail for a media tour.

The allegations were made in a lawsuit filed for a 17-year-old who claims he was assaulted by corrections officers during a two-month stay. The suit claims he tried to commit suicide and was denied mental-health treatment. It accuses the privately-run jail of overcrowding that contributes to scabies and staph, shackling for punishment, locking up children for 23 hours a day in filthy cells, serving nasty food and not serving enough food.

“Not a single accusation is true,” said Butch Cummings, director of the center, run by Mississippi Security Police Inc. “We do not abuse the youths. The only shackles are those used when they’re transported for court appearances.”