Help save youth, grand jurors urge community

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 20, 2000

Matching several grand juries before, the October term of the Warren County grand jury urged the community to become more involved in youth programs.

“We strongly support early intervention, and recommend the additional funding of youth programs to avoid expenditures on criminal prosecution in the future,” grand jurors said in their written report issued Thursday afternoon.

“I think if the public became more knowledgeable about what is going on it would be good,” one grand juror said.

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He said the public should be more aware that it costs more to house a juvenile offender than to provide a young person a place to go.

“We should concentrate on giving them a place to be stimulated, while they are young,” he said.

He added that more than just support is needed. “I encourage people to go out and volunteer their time.”

The juror said he wished everyone could go through the grand jury experience.

“It is a real education because you get to interact with people from different backgrounds and different experiences,” he said.

Elsewhere in their report, grand jurors in session since Monday, urged that the Vicksburg Police Department have, “a full-time position for transcribing duties be created.”

“I think the people doing it may be overwhelmed because they have other duties, too,” one juror said. “The accuracy of the transcriptions are so important that I think it deserves a full-time post.”

Police Chief Mitchell Dent said his department once had a full-time transcriber.

“She was working on a grant, and that grant ran out so she moved to a clerical position,” he said. “At this time, it is not in our budget to have a full-time transcriber.”

In the future, the department may try to get a full-time transcriber, Dent said.

“The time is there for the current staff to do it, and the time is there for investigators to go over the reports to make sure they are accurate,” he said.

Other recommendations were:

That the Warren County Board of Supervisors consider paving county roads in outlying areas.

Security be enhanced and enforced by adding walk-through metal detectors at entrances of all courtrooms.

A space-use plan be prepared for the completion of construction of a third floor of the Warren County Jail.

That block numbers be installed on street-corner signs to assist emergency personnel and tourists in finding addresses.

Highly visible police patrol in areas of frequent or suspected criminal activity.

In addition to writing the report, jurors heard evidence in 102 cases, voting indictments in 97 of them. The panels, selected at random from voter rolls three times each year, meet in closed sessions, interview public officials and inspect public buildings and programs.