- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Hinds County Youth Court Judge Bill Skinner is in a legal fight with the Hinds County Board of Supervisors over administrative control of the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center.

Skinner says the Board of Supervisors has entered into a federal consent decree to limit juvenile stays at the center to a maximum 21 days without the authority of the Youth Court. Juveniles had been kept at the center up to 90 days.

“The action sought by the Hinds County Board of Supervisors . is strictly prohibited by the laws of Mississippi,” said Youth Court staff attorney Kelly Williams, in a motion filed by Skinner to intervene in the case. “Said laws prohibit the Hinds County Board of Supervisors from executing any order authorizing the release of any child from Hinds County youth detention facility.”

The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/29ogFrd) Skinner also has filed a complaint in Hinds County Circuit Court seeking an injunction against the county to stop the county from reducing the Youth Court’s budget by about $62,800, and to return control of the youth detention center to him.

U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan hasn’t ruled on Skinner’s motion to intervene in the federal case.

Skinner says the existing parties in the litigation do not adequately protect the Hinds County Youth Court’s interest.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and other advocacy groups filed suit in 2011 on behalf of youths after finding teens were being denied mental health services and subjected to verbal abuse and threats of physical harm by staff members. In a settlement reached in 2012, Jordan required the county to increase staffing, improve medical care, beef up educational and enrichment programming and repair buildings.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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