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Reeves, Public Defender Say Community Must Reverse Crime Trends

Posted by Steve Rogers | July 17, 2012 / 04:07pm | Local News, Crime, Political, Business, Faith & Family, Education
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) -- Last week, Lowndes County District Attorney Forest Allgood told a Columbus civic group the state Department of Corrections is playing a dangerous game by letting convicted felons out of prison early.

Today, a defense attorney told the same group the entire community is playing an even more dangerous game by not getting involved.

It was a common theme as Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said much the same thing during a talk to a youth leadership conference in Tupelo.

Carrie Jourdan, a Columbus attorney in private practice who also is one of five circuit court public defenders in Lowndes County, urged Columbus Rotarians to step out of their own worlds and get involved in the lives of young men and women to head them off from a life of crime or turn them around after they've started down that path.

"Everyone has a story," Jourdan says of the dozens of cases she handles in Criminal Court each term.

Herself a crime victim, Jourdan doesn't condone crime but says many of the stories that lead to people ending up in the courts can be changed if individuals will make the effort.

"It's okay to be upset and outraged about crime, I am, too," Jourdan told the group. "But sometimes, it (crime) is all they know.

"We all must do out part to get involved to make it a little earlier. I see people when it's almost too late...it's not more money or more programs, it's people getting involved...it's in all our self interests, that's the key to a better community, better taxpayer base," Jourdan continued.

"We're only making a better criminal by sending everyone to prison."

Meanwhile, in Tupelo, Reeves offered encouragement and challenges to a group of about 30 students taking part in a youth leadership program sponsored this week by Republican State Sen. Nancy Collins.

Reeves also said a little bit of community involvement can go a long way.

"Some of our kids that are very capable students, potentially they don't hear that at home and so I think any leader, someone who can come in the classroom or come into a room full of kids and talk about the importance of education, it can make a difference long term," Reeves said.

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