View Full Version : Article: Campaign aimed at keeping Miss. youth from choosing crime

05-19-2005, 03:14 PM


With a growing number of youths ending up behind bars, the state prison system has launched a public awareness campaign aimed at deterring young people from criminal activity.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections has produced several public service announcements as part of its campaign, "Be Smart. Choose Freedom." The PSAs will be made available to television stations. They also can be viewed on MDOC's Web site.

The state prison population includes 586 inmates ages 14 to 19, and 38 percent of them are behind bars because of violent crimes, said Suzanne Singletary, MDOC communications director.

"What happens to you in prison is not glamorous," Singletary said. "We're trying to send a strong message, trying to have a passion for youths and reach them before it's too late."

On any given day, the Harrison County jail houses 22 juveniles ages 14 to 17 who are charged as adults, according to Maj. Dianne Riley, jail warden.

"One of the things I hate most is seeing the hundreds of young people throw their lives away by involving themselves in illegal activities," said MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps in a written statement.

"We cannot afford to sit idly watching the dreams of our children disintegrate, knowing more can be done. That's why I believe this campaign is a step forward in the right direction."


To find out more

Videos promoting a youth-oriented public service campaign - "Be Smart. Choose Freedom." - can be viewed on the state Department of Corrections' Web site: