Basic services, 2017

  • Overall

    Mostly state operated

  • Detention

    Locally operated

  • Probation

    State operated

  • Reentry

    State operated

In Mississippi, the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services (DYS), a state executive social services agency, administers juvenile probation, commitment to state facilities, and reentry services. 

Detention is primarily administered by county and city government, county boards and commissions, youth courts, and local law enforcement departments; whereas juvenile probation is administered by youth service counselors, out of offices in the local youth courts.

Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services (DYS) administers commitment to state juvenile correctional facilities and reentry services for youth leaving those facilities.

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer.

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is allowed in Mississippi's juvenile correctional facilities. Youth may be placed in disciplinary confinement for up to 3 days for major rule violations, but can exceed 72 hours in extraordinary circumstances with approval of Deputy Commissioner and status reviewed every additional 72 hours. Non-punitive confinement for an immediate threat to the safety of
others can not to exceed 24 hours.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP)

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

Release decisions for youth committed to the Mississippi Division of Youth Services are the responsibility of the Division. Release may be granted when sufficient progress in treatment and rehabilitation is evident and it is in the best interest of the child. The superintendent, in consultation with the treatment team, may also parole a youth at any time if it is in the youth's best interest. The Division is required to give notice to the committing courts of a youths release.

Risk assessment, 2020

Organization 2013 2017 2020
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Mississippi, the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services (DYS), administers juvenile probation services through Community Service Divisions. However, juvenile probation officers (called youth services counselors) work out of offices in the local youth courts as opposed to regional state offices. In several of the larger youth courts, the county executive sometimes funds additional counselor positions under the administrative supervision of the County Court, Youth Division. DYS policy requires the use of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) statewide in juvenile probation. The SAVRY is used to inform dispositions and for case planning purposes.  Prior to the adoption of the SAVRY statewide, local agency policy governed the use of risk assessment tools, resulting in several instruments in use across the state. 

Sex offender registration, 2015


Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY)

Mental health screening, 2014

Requires a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Mental health screening tool used
Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument –Version 2 (MAYSI-2)

Mississippi requires the use of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument, 2nd Edition (MAYSI-2) in detention facilities. Youth who score in the warning range on the tool are referred to the local mental health center. The information is further communicated to the youth services counselors (probation officers) and the courts for follow-up. The MAYSI-2  in detention is administered at a cost to the counties where youth are housed.

Mississippi's DYS provides institutional care to delinquent juveniles committed to MDHS/DYS custody. The psycho-educational program offered at the State Training School begins with a standardized admission, intake, and orientation process conducted by designated staff. After students are assessed in the area of mental health, physical, academic and vocational aptitude, and given a complete physical by a physician, and evaluated by a dentist, they are placed in academic and/or vocational classes.

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

Mississippi does not have a specific definition for evidence-based program and practice. However legislation (Sec 43-27-201) requires that the Division of Youth Services establishes, maintains and operates an Adolescent Offender Program (AOP), which may include non-Medicaid assistance eligible juveniles. AOP professional services, salaries, facility offices, meeting rooms and related supplies and equipment may be provided through contract with local mental health or other nonprofit community organizations. Each AOP must incorporate evidence-based practices and positive behavioral intervention that includes two (2) or more of the following elements: academic, tutoring, literacy, mentoring, vocational training, substance abuse treatment, family counseling and anger management.

Any funding for other evidence-based programs/practices is through state funding, the John and Catherine McArthur Foundation, and the Annie Casey Foundation utilizing the Models for Change initiative. Mississippi maintains a Juvenile Justice Research Consortium (a collaboration between the Social Science Research Center of Mississippi State University, the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology at Jackson State University, the Division of Public Safety Planning, the Office of Justice Programs, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the Division of Youth Services, and the Youth Court Program of the Administrative Office of the Courts) in response to the call for the creation of a centralized and comprehensive juvenile justice research center by the Mississippi Legislature Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditures Review (PEER). Funded by the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, the consortium is designed to address the deficiencies in planning, research and evaluation capacity of Mississippi’s juvenile justice system and to establish an ongoing program of data collection and a repository of juvenile justice data within the Public Safety Data Laboratory at the SSRC.

Information collected from youth courts and other juvenile justice agencies will be analyzed by project scientists and used to develop reports on Mississippi juvenile crime statistics and related juvenile justice issues.

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Study populations

The group(s) of youth being studied in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Re-offense events

Events that are used to measure recidivism in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Follow-up periods

Details regarding the length of time and frequency that youth are tracked in states that publicly report recidivism data.



Additional levels of analysis provided in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • County

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race/ethn.

  • Risk level

  • Initial offense

  • Re-offense

  • Prior history

The Mississippi Department of Human Services - Division of Youth Services publishes an average recidivism rate for youth served by the Oakley Training School. No definition of recidivism is provided in the report.

Data sources

2011 Annual Report
Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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