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New Database Reveals Disturbing Truth Regarding Lengthy Pre-Trial Detention in Mississippi

The MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law launched a new, unprecedented database,, that provides the names of the more than 7,000 inmates in Mississippi’s local jails and includes the counties in which they are being held, the date of their arrest, the charges against them, and the total amount of time they have been in jail. 

SPLC, MacArthur Justice Center, and Department of Public Safety Announce That Mississippi Will Reinstate Thousands of Driver’s Licenses Suspended for Failure to Pay Fines

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) will reinstate the driver’s licenses of all Mississippi drivers whose licenses were suspended due to non-payment of fines, fees, or assessments, and will no longer suspend licenses simply because a person fails to make such court-ordered payments. DPS will continue to suspend driver’s licenses for all other reasons available under Mississippi law. The change in policy was announced today by the DPS, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

MacArthur Justice Center, SPLC Sue City of Corinth and Judge for Running Debtors’ Prison

The City of Corinth, Mississippi and Municipal Court Judge John C. Ross are operating a modern-day debtors’ prison, unlawfully jailing poor people for their inability to pay bail and fines, according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Split Mississippi Court Rejects Appeal Over Delayed Trial

Cliff Johnson weighs in on the Mississippi Supreme Court's rejection of the appeal of James Wesley Scott, who was had to wait for nearly five years between arrest and trial. 

City of Pearl, Mississippi Youth Court Judge Resigns Under Pressure; City Closes Court Upon Learning That Judge Prohibited Young Mother From Seeing Her Baby Due to Unpaid Court Fees

MISSISSIPPI – Late Wednesday, in the Jackson suburb of Pearl, Mississippi, Youth Court Judge John Shirley resigned under pressure and the Pearl Municipal Youth Court was permanently closed in the wake of demands made by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law on behalf of their client who was deprived of contact with her four-month-old child until she paid court-imposed fees.

Mississippi Judges Can No Longer Target Blacks and Others with Unfair Bail Practices

The Atlanta Black Star covers the recent settlement in Burks v. Scott County, Mississippi, a class-action lawsuit in conjuction with the ACLU and ACLU Mississippi.

Settlement Will Stop Four Mississippi Counties from Jailing People Indefinitely Without a Lawyer or Because They Can't Afford Bail

Announcement of the settlement agreement in a federal class-action suit Burks v. Scott County, Mississippi, which challenged the county’s practice of detaining people who can’t afford an attorney for as long as a year without appointing counsel and without formally charging them with a crime.

KILL NOW, THINK LATER: MDOC has not studied any of the alternative methods of execution proposed by HB 638

NEW ORLEANS – The civil rights law firm that represents Mississippi death-sentenced prisoners in litigation against the lethal injection drugs chosen by the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has learned that MDOC has not studied how any of the alternative methods of execution proposed by House Bill 638 would be implemented.

Mississippi Supreme Court Upholds the Right of Condemned Men and Women to Challenge Torturous Methods of Execution in State Court

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for a Death Row prisoner to seek a state court order prohibiting a torturous method of execution.

MacArthur Justice Students Inspect Mississippi’s Death Row

Participants in the MacArthur Justice Clinic recently inspected Mississippi’s Death Row and conducted interviews of Death Row inmates at the State Penitentiary in Parchman. The visit was part of the Clinic’s ongoing monitoring of Mississippi’s compliance with a 2015 settlement negotiated by the Clinic on behalf of inmate Devin Bennett concerning the conditions of Death Row.

This woman was falsely charged with a drug crime. She spent three months in jail anyway.

Regardless of who is to blame, Jauch was still unjustly caught in a three-month ordeal that could have been resolved within days, had she had a hearing and been appointed an attorney in a timely manner, said Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Federal Court Clears Path for Disclosure of Missouri Lethal Injection Methods

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough of the Western District of Missouri has denied a motion filed by the Missouri Department of Corrections to quash a deposition and subpoena seeking information about Missouri’s use of pentobarbital in a single-drug protocol for lethal injection executions. Missouri’s Department of Corrections must now answer questions and share documents about its death penalty protocols.

Settlement Ends “Debtors’ Prison” System in Jackson, Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. – The landmark settlement of a federal class action against the City of Jackson, Mississippi, has brought an end to that city’s self-described “pay or stay” system alleged to have sent hundreds of people to jail each year because they could not pay fines and fees in misdemeanor cases.

Settlement Ends Mississippi City’s Jailing of Impoverished People Awaiting Court Appearances for Misdemeanor Charges


CONTACT: Alec Karakatsanis, Equal Justice Under Law (202-681-2409) 

                     Cliff Johnson, MacArthur Justice Center  (601-949-9470)

 Settlement Ends Mississippi City’s Jailing of Impoverished People Awaiting Court Appearances for Misdemeanor Charges

 Jurisdictions Using Same Practices Have Opportunity To Change Or Face Similar Legal Challenges

 GULFPORT, MISS. -- Moss Point, a small city in Jackson County, Mississippi, has agreed to stop the practice of jailing impoverished people for up to a week while they wait to appear in court on misdemeanor cases.

Prisoners Seek Injunction to Block Use of Compounded Lethal Injection Drug in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. – Two Mississippi death-sentenced prisoners have asked a federal court to issue a preliminary injunction preventing the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) from using a compounded anesthetic as the first drug in its three-drug lethal injection series.

Lawsuit Challenges Mississippi’s Use of Compounded Drugs in Executions

JACKSON, Miss. — The Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center at New Orleans has filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections challenging the use of compounded drugs in executions. The lawsuit also challenges the state’s continued use of a three-drug lethal injection protocol, given the known risks associated with such a protocol and the demonstrated success of a single-drug protocol to significantly reduce these risks.

Judge orders release of execution drug supplier’s name

JACKSON – A judge has rejected the Mississippi Department of Corrections’ attempt to keep secret the pharmacy that supplies a crucial execution drug.

EDITORIAL: MDOC Transparency and Execution Secrecy Don’t Mix

Jim Craig, a lawyer for the New Orleans-based Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, filed an open-records request in November seeking information about Mississippi's execution drugs and death-penalty procedures. The state is not only resisting making the disclosure in court, but a bill in the Legislature would shroud many other aspects of the state's execution procedure in secrecy.

State Asks Judge to Keep Source of Execution Drugs Secret

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Lawyers for Mississippi's prison system asked a judge Monday to declare that the name of any pharmacy that supplies a crucial execution drug is a secret that must not be revealed publicly.

Mississippi House Passes Bill Mandating Execution Secrecy

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi House has passed a bill that not only makes the details surrounding state executions secret, but allows lawsuits against anyone who discloses the secrets.

Group says MDOC violated public records act

A New Orleans public interest group says in a lawsuit that the Mississippi Department of Corrections failed to comply with the state's Public Records Act by not producing records of the state's procedure for carrying out executions.

Miss. inmate seeks dismissal of death sentence

A Mississippi inmate is citing a decision in a Florida case to support arguments that he is mentally disabled and his death sentence should be overturned.

Mississippi 'addicted to incarceration'

Experts say the best way to keep people out of prison is to educate them — and start young.

In a Mississippi Jail, Convictions and Counsel Appear Optional

RALEIGH, Miss. — Sheila Burks has not seen her nephew Octavious much over the past few years. . . .

ACLU Sues Scott County on Behalf of Mississippians Jailed Indefinitely Without Lawyer or Indictment

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Mississippi, and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center filed a class action suit late yesterday against the Scott County (Mississippi) sheriff, district attorney, and judges after learning that the Scott County Detention Center has held people for as long as a year without appointing counsel and without indicting them. The county’s practices violate the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments’ rights to counsel, to a speedy trial, and to a fair bail hearing. . . .

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