ACLU of Mississippi Statement Addressing Oxford’s Proposed Juvenile Ordinance

Affiliate: ACLU of Mississippi
September 18, 2013 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Mississippi
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

CONTACT: 212-549-2666,

Jackson, Miss. – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi has released the following statement to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of Oxford, MS:

It has come to the attention of the ACLU of Mississippi that Oxford is considering a city-wide youth curfew. Although such ordinances are implemented to reduce crime, in fact they are unnecessary, ineffective, and could violate the constitutional rights of youth and their parents. This proposed curfew would violate a young person’s right to travel and to engage in free expression, in addition to promoting racial profiling of our young people. The Constitution applies to one hundred percent of us, regardless of age and race.

Law enforcement agencies have every tool they need (without curfews) to protect and enforce laws. They have always had the authority to stop people based on reasonable suspicion of a law being violated. Holding minors inside of a detention center and levying fines on minors or their parents will not reduce crime. Young people should not be singled out.

Curfew ordinances violate the constitutional rights of due process, the right to be free from unreasonable detention, as well as freedom of expression, by giving the police unlimited discretion to arrest our young people engaged in wholly legitimate and constitutionally protected activities and speech. Empirical evidence shows that black youth nationwide are cited for curfew violations seventy-one percent more frequently than their white counterparts. The ACLU of Mississippi opposes juvenile curfew laws as unconstitutional, unjustifiable government intrusions on the rights of children and young people, as well as the right of parents to control and discipline their children.

A juvenile curfew law and similar ordinances do not protect communities. They needlessly funnel our innocent youth into the criminal justice system. For these reasons, we encourage the Board of Alderpersons not to criminalize and incarcerate children by adopting a curfew ordinance. We urge you to allocate resources, community services, and other programs to increase parental involvement and provide safe, productive activities for youth in Oxford.

We will continue to monitor the Board’s consideration of a curfew ordinance. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding our opposition to the proposed curfew ordinance. You may reach Phillip Rollins by phone (601) 354-3408, ext. 103 or by email at

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