Children’s Division

August 22, 2013  | 

Attorney General Hood talking with studentsThe Office of the Attorney General is dedicated to improving the lives of Mississippi’s youth.  The Children’s Division collaborates with many state agencies and nonprofit organizations to improve and expand the services available to children in need.

The Office of the Attorney General is involved in the following programs:

The Annie E. Casey Foundation – Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)

In December 2007, the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) awarded funds to the Attorney General’s Office to facilitate efforts to replicate the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in Mississippi.  JDAI provides a framework of strategies that help to reduce the inappropriate use of secure juvenile detention, while maintaining public safety and court appearance rates.

Initially, there were three JDAI sites: Adams, Leflore, and Washington counties.  AECF staff conducted a system assessment on all three sites, prior to becoming a JDAI site.  The system assessment consisted of interviewing multiple system stakeholders on the eight interrelated core strategies that defined JDAI.  The results of the system assessment provided the framework for the site’s work plan.  The interrelated eight core strategies that define JDAI include:

  • Collaboration between juvenile justice agencies, governmental entities, and community organizations.
  • Use of accurate data to drive policy and program decisions.
  • Objective admissions criteria and instruments to guide admissions and sanctioning decisions.
  • Community-based alternatives to detention to increase options available for arrested youth.
  • Case processing to reduce lengths of stay.
  • Reducing the use of secure confinement for “special cases” such as violations of probation.
  • Practices and policies to eliminate structured and personal biases that could produce racial disparities.
  • Improving conditions of confinement through routine facility inspections.

To assist in our efforts to expand JDAI, the Department of Public Safety, Office of Justice Programs awarded the AGO a grant to replicate JDAI in Harrison and Rankin counties.  As with the original sites, a system assessment was conducted in these counties.  Our efforts have also introduced aspects of JDAI in Desoto, Jackson, and Lauderdale counties.  Currently, a statewide effort is underway to replicate JDAI principles in each county court jurisdiction with a juvenile detention facility.

Juvenile detention is the temporary placement of a youth accused of a delinquent act, while awaiting the final outcome of his or her court appearance. The purpose of detention is to house youths who, by virtue of their alleged offenses, pose a serious public safety or flight risk.  The goal of JDAI as a systems-change initiative is to create more effective and efficient processes surrounding the use of detention. A primary goal of JDAI is to make sure that secure detention is used for serious offenders, and to create effective alternatives for other youth who can be safely supervised in the community while awaiting final court disposition.

The Attorney General’s Office facilitated the establishment of a statewide collaborative, referred to as the Juvenile Justice Collaborative (JJC).  The JJC consists of an alliance of system stakeholders that have a statewide influence on policy, procedure and legislative change effecting juvenile justice.  The JJC has quarterly meetings.

Click here to view our JDAI Brochure.

Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation – Badges for Baseball Program

Cal Ripken, Sr. Badges for BaseballThe mission of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation is to reach young people in disadvantaged communities throughout America and teach them to learn and practice the skills needed to be healthy, happy and successful in life.  Through its many programs, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation helps kids understand the importance of choosing to stay in school, staying off harmful substances, and staying away from negative peer groups and gangs.

The Mississippi Badges for Baseball Program is a community crime prevention initiative that utilizes law enforcement officials as mentors.  The AGO began its long-term relationship with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in 2008 when it implemented the Badges for Baseball Program in Boys and Girls Clubs across the state.

The following may be used to contact the Children’s Division:

  • P.O. Box 220
  • Jackson, MS 39205-0220
  • Telephone: 601-359-4207
  • Toll Free Telephone: 800-829-6766
  • Fax: 601-576-4445
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