Group Complains about Jail 'Pipeline'

Meridian, Miss. Operation Help Civil Rights Group says it continues to get complaints about how minors are being treated in the justice system.

Members of the group held a news conference in Meridian Wednesday to voice their objections.

Operation Help's president, Wendol Lee, said children, especially black youth, are being locked up for things like having sagging pants or cursing teachers and being sent away from home to Rankin County.

Lee said he also opposes an agreement reached between the U.S. Justice Department and Meridian Public Schools.

"We're saying that if the juvenile court can't handle this then they shouldn't be getting any money. It should be shut down if they're not dealing with these kids, because these are kids," said Lee. "That's what you've got a juvenile court for."

Lee said his group is demanding that kids be treated like kids.

He said Operation Help will organize a protest against the district attorney's office unless things change. However, the district attorney does not handle cases in youth court. Juvenile court is overseen by two elected youth court judges.