GULFPORT, Miss. (CN) – Harrison County inflicts “horrific physical and mental abuse” on juvenile detainees, subjecting them to “23-hour a day lockdown in filthy jail cells” that infect them with staph and scabies, “punitive shackling, staff-on-youth assaults” and other abuses, according to a federal class action. The county pays a private, for-profit prison company, Missouri Security Police, $1.6 million a year to run the place, according to the complaint.
The class claims the conditions at the county’s Juvenile Detention Center are unconstitutional. It sued Harrison County, but not the private prison company, which is based in Pascagoula.
The class is represented by Vanessa Carroll with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mississippi Youth Justice Project, of Jackson, Miss.