District Court Judge Carlton Reeves
District court judge carlton reeves

Following the Hinds County Detention Center’s January 21, 2022, move to withdraw its consent decree, a federal judge has placed the County in contempt of Court, laying the stage for receivership proceedings. As a result of the jail’s poor security, broken locks, illegal detainment, and other issues, a decree was issued in 2016.

There is no evidence to substantiate the assertion that the County has stopped violating the constitutional rights of its detained residents in Mississippi, US Southern Mississippi District Court Judge Carlton Reeves said in his Friday, February 4 decision.

To avoid a federal takeover of Raymond Detention Center, “the motion appears,” the ruling stated.

There is no compliance with provisions for the protection of inmates, use of force training and reviews, incident reports, sexual misconduct, and complaint and information systems for inmates. There is also no restriction on segregation, the lawful basis for detention, continuous improvement, and quality assurance. The Court cites these. As the judge pointed out, the County claimed victory for 62 of the 92 conditions in its termination petition because it had documented sustained compliance in three and partial compliance in 59 requirements.

There are still more than two dozen elements in which the County is just non-compliant with a court order,” Reeves said. “The County is in civil contempt for each of those.”

When questioned why the County was changing its legal approach by asking for a delay in contempt proceedings until July 2022, Reeves responded it was merely a shift in legal strategy. The County had

Raymond Detention Center
Raymond detention center

previously requested the Court to delay contempt proceedings until then.

On July 1, 2022, the County requested that this Court postpone a ruling on contempt until then to continue ‘turning the R.D.C. warship onto a new and better course,'” concluded the judge. It appears that the County and its new counsel engineered a stance contrary to all of the County’s earlier claims.

The southern Mississippi district The United States is represented in action against Hinds County over the management of its detention facilities by U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca. U.S. Department of Justice photo

According to the Consent Decree, “the constitutional minimum necessary for the provision of the County’s prisoners with basic sustenance” has been exceeded by the Consent Decree for nearly six years.

Thus, a Receiver is both appropriate and required.

Raymond Detention Center
Raymond detention center

Hinds County filed a move to cancel the consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice on January 27, 2022. Due to the defendants’ non-compliance with 88 of the 91 terms of a 2016 consent decree, D.O.J. lawyers said the County should be held in contempt, and the move to cancel the agreement should be denied.

Aside from Christopher N. Cheng, Sarah Steve, and Helen Vera, the D.O.J. Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section trial attorneys, additional officials’ names appear on the court filing in this case.

Assisting in the prosecution of civil rights cases are U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Darren J. LaMarca, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Chief Steven H. Rosenbaum, Assistant Attorney General Mitzi Dease Paige, and Deputy Chief Laura L. Cowall of Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section.

According to the Department of Justice, “Defendants’ widespread contempt of the Consent Decree shows that they are unwilling or incapable of addressing the constitutional violations that exist at the Jail.” This is why having a receiver is suitable and required.”

Since 2016, a consent agreement has governed the Raymond Hinds County Incarceration Center and other detention facilities in the County. Hinds County, Mississippi, was found in contempt of Court by U.S. Southern.

Plra
Plraprison litigation reform act

District Court Judge Carlton Reeves on Friday, February 4, 2022.

As a result of their pleas, the Court decided to postpone the execution of their consent order for 60 days.

According to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the Court might postpone a move to terminate the consent decree by 60 days for “good cause” if the motion is filed within 30 days of the filing of the motion. Courts were advised that a stay was essential because of a current constitutional violation, harm caused by that violation, and the intricacy of a termination motion. In this case, the County did not object.

D.O.J. officials have “repeatedly ignored or rejected technical assistance recommendations made by the Monitor, consultants, and the United States,” according to the D.O.J. statement.

After filing a contempt petition against the County in June 2019, they agreed to a stipulated order in January 2020, including short-term remedies. Only one of the 92 consent decree provisions had been consistently met by the County at the time.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke
Assistant attorney general kristen clarke

As a result, “Defendants continued their pattern or practice of constitutional violations, and continued their widespread non-compliance with the two remedial orders,” said the agency. Nearly two years after the Stipulated Order, the Monitor’s sixteenth and most recent compliance report dated November 24, 2021, indicates that just three of the Decree’s 92 substantive sections are in substantial compliance by Defendants. “”

On January 27, 2022, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke and other D.O.J. attorneys filed a brief with the U.S. District Court for Mississippi’s southern district to have Mississippi’s detention facilities found in contempt of Court for the way they are administered. The Justice Department provided this image.

The Henley-Young Detention Center is now included in the consent agreement since the County used all its facilities to house pretrial detainees. In 2017, the County chose to relocate adolescents prosecuted as adults to this institution instead of the Raymond-based Hinds County Detention Center.

Henley-Young also has flaws, according to the department, including a lack of personnel, oversight, and programs for kids charged as adults, which the agency used to argue for the Court to punish the County in contempt. According to the county, there were 49 youth-care professional posts in the jail when the consent order was signed, but only 42 had been filled by October 2021.

According to the D.O.J, leadership changes, delays in recruiting clinical personnel, and lack of long-term planning have further hampered reform efforts. A Consent Decree would not have prevented these failings in monitoring,

Henley-Young Detention Center
Henley-young detention center

treatment, care, and education for juvenile inmates.

Ex-Jail Administrator Kathryn Bryan was the most recent to leave the Hinds County Detention Center. She resigned on November 10 after five months in office due to a disagreement over policy with previous interim Hinds County Sheriff Marshand Crisler. In court filings, she described a recent Crisler command as “reckless and dangerous,” She complained of a lack of assistance.

Her resignation was supposed to take effect on Tuesday, February 10. As a result of this announcement, the newly elected Sherriff Tyree Jones stated that the resignation was effective immediately.

Lawyers for the federal government argued in a January 27 brief that proposed changes to the consent decree were “critical” to protecting juvenile detainees from “unconstitutional substantial risk of serious harm from physical violence, inadequate mental health care and other programming, and inhumane conditions of confinement.”

Phelps Dunbar, Llp
Phelps dunbar, l. L. P.

Attorneys Reuben V. Anderson, W. Thomas Siler Jr., and Nicholas F. Morisani of Phelps Dunbar, L.L.P. are defending Hinds County in Court.

Lawyers for the federal government accused the County of failing to implement a procedure whereby acquitted defendants are released directly from the court “rather than returning to the Jail in handcuffs,” and of failing to investigate incidents of untimely or incorrect prisoner releases, both of which have been documented.

The consent decree was not too intrusive and that a receiver is “unnecessary and constitutes the most intrusive-means to cure the alleged ‘current and ongoing violations,” the county attorneys said in their petition on January 31. Lawyers from Phelps Dunbar, L.L.P. Reuben V. Anderson, W. Thomas Siler Jr., and Nicholas F. Morisani signed the County’s answer to the suit.

As a result, the Department of Justice (D.O.J.) approach misunderstands constitutional obligations in favor of jail ‘best practices.’ Additionally, the Department of Justice fails to demonstrate the sorts of systemic constitutional breaches that warrant systemic remedies on a large scale,” the county lawyers argued.

“I am not able to comment at this time,” Anderson told the Mississippi Free Press on Monday, February 7. Donations to the Mississippi Free Press, which have no bearing on reporting decisions, have been made by Reuben Anderson.

According to an order dated January 10, Judge Reeves had said that he would decide on the issue in February after receiving two to three possible recipients’ names by January 19. The County of Hinds, Mississippi, announced just five days before the January 19 deadline to end the consent agreement.

In Raymond’s Hinds County Detention Center, Kathryn Bryan was the jail administrator. She filed a resignation letter on November 10, 2021, and she will be out of the company on February 10. On the other side, Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones stated that her resignation would take effect on January 31. WLBT provided the screengrab.

For this reason, the County respectfully requests that the Court hold in abeyance any decision to use extraordinary power until July 1, 2022, to allow the County additional time to continue its ongoing efforts and demonstrate that it can make even more significant,None positive change at the R.D.C.,” the county lawyers wrote in December 2022. Then, on the 21st of the next month, on January 21, 2022, they decided to seek the Court to dissolve the consent decree instead.

Because the consent decree’s policies and provisions go beyond the constitutional minimum required to provide the County’s inmates with basic sustenance and the conditions of the County’s facilities do not violate the inmates’ basic constitutional rights, the consent decree must be terminated or modified in accordance with 18 U.S.C. 3626(b) of the PLRA, the county lawyers later argued in Court on January 21.

As of October 2021, “the county’s compliance with [the consent decree] paints a different picture,” they said. Nearly seventy percent (70%) of the consent decree’s regulations and provisions were determined to be either fully or partially adhered to by the County during the monitoring team’s second visit, indicating an improved trend in operations at the R.D.C.

According to the letter written by Reeves on Friday, multiple reports from court monitor Elizabeth Simpson, correctional operations expert David M. Parrish, juvenile justice expert Jim Moeser, and corrections mental health specialist Dr. Richard Dudley contradict recent comments from the County.

As a result of the 15 Monitoring Reports, Reeves said Hinds County’s newfound status is quite problematic.”

Hinds County has decided to follow through on its commitment to the Consent Decree and the Stipulated Order. It was twice agreed that their provisions were limited to what was essential and not excessive. When R.D.C. is fixed, it should have to live with that option,” he said.