Probe: Make reforms at youth prison

Prisons in Mississippi should be tough and unpleasant, whether those facilities house adult offenders or juveniles.

But facilities like the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility should be safe, humane and operate under the additional missions of offering a significant means of rehabilitation and education to prisoners who will accept that kind of help.

The U.S. Department of Justice informed Gov. Haley Barbour late last year that it had begun an investigation into the treatment of juveniles at the prison.

In November, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union and Jackson lawyer Robert McDuff filed a lawsuit against the Florida-based GEO Group, which owns the prison, on behalf of 13 offenders at the Leake County prison. The lawsuit alleges young offenders at the 1,200-inmate prison are being forced to live in “barbaric, unconstitutional conditions.”

Clarion Ledger
1/13/11