Jackson, MS – May 18, 2011 – Jackson, MS – On Tuesday, May 17, 2011, Southern Echo and the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable hosted approximately fifty participants for a workshop on alternative schools, youth court and detention centers, and the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative.
Workshop participants evaluated the nature and purpose of alternative schools, including: the causes and reasons students may be assigned to alternative schools, the procedures for assigning students to alternative schools, the difference between detention centers and alternative schools, the guidelines for the administration of alternative schools, and actions that may be taken when school administration does not follow the law or regulations.
Participants also engaged in a discussion of the juvenile court and detention center processes, beginning with intake after arrest; continuing through the pre-adjudication processes, which include detention; to adjudication, judgment, and imposition of a punishment if necessary.
Workshop participants considered the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, which promotes changes to policies, practices, and programs in the pre-adjudication stage of the juvenile court and detention center process to reduce reliance on secure confinement, improve public safety, reduce racial disparities and bias, save taxpayers’ dollars, and stimulate overall juvenile justice reforms. Three counties in the state of Mississippi, Adams (Natchez), Leflore (Greenwood), and Washington (Greenville), practice the JDAI model of detention reform.
All participants participated in a small group session designed to allow each person an opportunity to develop skills by putting the tools they had learned throughout the day and at five other previously held, similarly designed and purposed workshops addressing issues in public education to use. Participants were provided various scenarios and asked to create a plan of action to address the concerns of a scenario.
The workshop was offered as a part of Echo and the Roundtable’s work with the Just and Fair Schools Fund Initiative. The Just and Fair Schools Fund Initiative works to eliminate harsh school discipline policies and practices and upholds the right to a quality education for all youth.