Resource: United States v. City of Meridian

By: U.S. Department of Justice

November 29, 2011

U.S. Department of Justice

In October 2012, the United States filed a lawsuit against the City of Meridian, Mississippi; Lauderdale County, Mississippi; Judges of the Lauderdale County Youth Court; and the State of Mississippi alleging that these defendants systematically violate the due process rights of juveniles. The United States filed the complaint following an eight-month investigation finding that the City, County, Youth Court, and State help to operate a school-to-prison pipeline in which the rights of children in Meridian are repeatedly and routinely violated. The lawsuit includes claims that defendants systematically incarcerate children in Meridian for allegedly committing minor offenses, including school disciplinary infractions, and punish children disproportionately without due process of law, in violation of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. On September 18, 2015, the United States District Court entered Orders approving settlement agreements between the United States and the City of Meridian and the State of Mississippi. The agreements include reforms regarding policies, practices and training regarding arrests for school-based offenses and youth probation practices. The department’s allegations that defendants Lauderdale County and the Lauderdale County Youth Court Judges failed to provide basic due process protections for children have not been resolved, and remain in litigation.,due%20process%20rights%20of%20juveniles.