Center sues Forrest County over access to conditions at juvenile detention center

HATTIESBURG, MS. (AP) - The Southern Poverty Law Center has sued Forrest County over access to youth and over conditions at the local juvenile detention center.

The detention center has been the focus of allegations of abuse. Hattiesburg television station WDAM won a court decision that allowed it to broadcast a video that allegedly showed guards abusing juveniles at the center.

In a news release, SPLC attorney Jody Owens says the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Hattiesburg. Owens says SPLC and Disability Rights Mississippi have asked a judge to order Forrest County to provide the children held at the center with access to lawyers and civil rights advocates. Owens says SPLC and DRM had been denied access to the center.

Forrest County officials could not immediately be reached for comment.