Agreement reached on overcrowding at coast youth jail

JACKSON, MS. (AP) - A youth advocacy group says it has reached a preliminary agreement in a federal lawsuit over conditions at a Mississippi juvenile detention center. The lawsuit was filed April 20 in U.S. District Court in Gulfport on behalf of youth in the Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center. The lawsuit claimed youngsters were subjected to physical and emotional abuse and forced to live in squalid cells.

The private company that runs the facility denies that, but says there is room for improvement. Among other things, the agreement calls for a certain staff-to-youth ratio, says no one should sleep on the floor and that restraints and confinement will only be used when there's a threat of bodily harm.

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