JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – In the wake of the city’s 63rd homicide, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the city and the community will have to implement alternative strategies to help address what he says is an “overburdened judicial system.”
Lumumba was asked about the latest homicide at his Monday press conference.
The mayor had called the meeting to discuss construction on a new fire station and to mark the Juneteenth celebration.
However, he could not avoid questions about the city’s homicide rate.
So far this year, 63 people have been killed, putting Jackson on tap to eclipse its deadliest year on record, 2020.
The mayor said part of the problem is an overburdened judicial system.
“When the systems we depend on from the judicial standpoint aren’t serving us from the best of their abilities, then we have to incorporate some alternative strategies in order to help that,” he said.
The mayor said he’s been in talks with local businesses to help support programs to help get to the root problem of crime, such as youth engagement programs and workforce development programs.
“This is something that is bigger than us and without the support of the community, we won’t be able to mount an effort to bring (crime) down,” he said.
The news days after a WLBT investigation revealed that just two of the 119 individuals arrested for murder in Jackson in the last three years had gone to trial.
Meanwhile, Hinds County Senior Circuit Judge Tomie Green said the actual number of those arrested in connection with homicides currently awaiting trial is between 200 and 300.
As for the 119, she told 3 On Your Side that likely just the number of people awaiting trial who have not been released on bond.
Green said the county needs more judges to help push cases through the system. At the same time, she said the county is limited on the number of detainees it can hold, due to consent decree mandates at the Hinds County Detention Center.
Lumumba said addressing the judicial system, though, does not get to the heart of Jackson’s crime problem.
He points to the city’s efforts to support groups like Strong Arms of Jackson, a nonprofit dedicated to violence interruption, and Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which provides no-strings-attached monthly income to low-income Black mothers.
“You see communities in trauma, dealing with deep-seated issues,” he said. “We can’t be a snapshot in their lives. Their snapshot doesn’t represent the challenges and struggles they’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis.”
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