Scott County, Mississippi

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Scott County, Mississippi
Court-House, Forest, Miss..jpg
Scott County Courthouse
Map of Mississippi highlighting Scott County
Location in the U.S. state of Mississippi
Map of the United States highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
Founded 1833
Named for Abram M. Scott
Seat Forest
Largest city Forest
 • Total 610 sq mi (1,580 km2)
 • Land 609 sq mi (1,577 km2)
 • Water 1.2 sq mi (3 km2), 0.2%
 • (2010) 28,264
 • Density 46/sq mi (18/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Scott County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 28,264.[1] Its county seat is Forest.[2] The county is named for Abram M. Scott, the Governor of Mississippi from 1832 to 1833.

In September 2014 the ACLU and the MacArthur Justice Center filed a class-action suit against the Scott County court and the Scott County Sheriff's Office for violations of the Sixth and Fifteenth amendments to the US constitution through their lengthy detention of suspects and failure to provide them with counsel soon after arrest, setting unfair bail, taking too long to reach indictments, and failing to provide speedy trials. The US District Court did not certify the three classes, but did retain the claims for damages by the two named plaintiffs; as of late 2015, the case was proceeding.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 610 square miles (1,600 km2), of which 609 square miles (1,580 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (0.2%) is water.[3]

It is an approximately 45 minute driving distance from Jackson.[4]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


This area was developed by European Americans for cotton plantations. After the American Civil War, many freedmen worked as sharecroppers or tenant farmers on the plantations. In 1890 the state legislature disenfranchised most blacks, who were a majority in the state, by creating barriers to voter registration; it also passed Jim Crow laws, treating freedmen and their descendants as second-class citizens.

From 1877 to 1950, there were nine lynchings of blacks in Scott County.[5] It was a form of racial terrorism that was at its height at the turn of the 20th century.[5]

On October 23-25, 1898, a "race war" erupted in Harperville, an unincorporated community in Scott County, after blacks resisted one of their community being arrested for an alleged conflict with his white employer. They fatally shot a white deputy and wounded three others. A mob of whites gathered that night and started hunting down and killing black suspects, killing nine to eleven black men by the end of the following day. Sources vary in the count of fatalities, and some blacks were buried before being identified or counted.[6] The county sheriff arrested some black suspects and took them first to the county seat at Forest, and then to Meridian for their safety. Associated Press and major newspapers covered the events.[7][6][8]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,653
1850 3,961 139.6%
1860 8,139 105.5%
1870 7,847 −3.6%
1880 10,845 38.2%
1890 11,740 8.3%
1900 14,316 21.9%
1910 16,723 16.8%
1920 16,420 −1.8%
1930 20,914 27.4%
1940 23,144 10.7%
1950 21,681 −6.3%
1960 21,187 −2.3%
1970 21,369 0.9%
1980 24,556 14.9%
1990 24,137 −1.7%
2000 28,423 17.8%
2010 28,264 −0.6%
Est. 2016 28,207 [9] −0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 census, there were 28,264 people, 10,248 households, and 7,264 families residing in the county. The population density was 46.4 people per square mile (18/km²). There were 11,470 housing units at an average density of 18 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 53.3% White, 37.5% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 7.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 10.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino (6.3% Mexican, 1.5% Guatemalan, 0.7% Cuban).[14][15]

There were 10,183 households out of which 36.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.80% were married couples living together, 18.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.00% were non-families. 22.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.60% under the age of 18, 9.60% from 18 to 24, 27.90% from 25 to 44, 21.40% from 45 to 64, and 12.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 94.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,686, and the median income for a family was $31,487. Males had a median income of $26,406 versus $18,459 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,013. About 16.50% of families and 20.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.80% of those under age 18 and 22.70% of those age 65 or over.


The Scott County Sheriff's office provides the equivalent of County law enforcement for both unincorporated cities as well as incorporated cities within the county. The Scott County Sheriff is the oldest elected position in Scott County. The Scott County Sheriff's Office has 63 employees, both sworn and non-sworn.[citation needed] It is divided into six divisions; Administration, patrol, criminal investigations,narcotics, communications, and detention. The Sheriff's office operates the County Jail; it provides detention services under contract to the City of Forest Police Department and to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

In 2010 the County opened a new state-of-the-art correction facility. The facility can handle 150 prisoners. The complex includes a new sheriff's office. The new sheriff's provides offices for all administrative personnel as well as investigations offices.[citation needed]

Class-action suit against court and Sheriff's Office[edit]

In September 2014 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the MacArthur Justice Center filed a federal class-action civil rights suit, Burks v. Scott County, against the County courts and the Scott County Sheriff's Office for violating suspects' rights, under the Sixth and Fourteenth amendments, to 1) defense counsel, 2) a speedy trial, 3) individualized bail determinations; and 4) freedom from excessive pre-trial detention.

The two plaintiffs had each been held for months in detention without access to a public defender before they were indicted or tried on the charges. "... Mr. Burks has spent over three years in the Scott County jail since August 30, 2009, on the three separate charges,” the complaint states. “He has only been indicted once, he has never been to trial, and he has never been convicted.”[16]

The state does not require the county courts to issue indictments within any set period of time. The county courts call a grand jury only three times a year, so defendants have long waits in between. At the time of indictment, the Scott County judges pick the public defender for each defendant, creating a conflict of interest. The ACLU notes that similar abuses exist in other Mississippi county court systems.[16] At the time of the suit, Brandon Buskey, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U.’s Criminal Law Reform Project, said that 53 of the 129 inmates in the Scott County Detention Center had not been indicted.[17]

On September 23, 2014 these parties filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of several inmates in the Scott County Detention Center who had been detained for lengthy periods without counsel, fair bail arrangements, formal prosecution, or trial. They proposed the creation of three classes of plaintiffs, among persons who were treated similarly by the county courts.[4]

As of November 2015, the case was ongoing. The US District Court dismissed the plaintiff's motion for a declaratory judgment in September 2015. It retained the claim for damages by the two named plaintiffs but dismissed the motions to certify three classes as moot, saying that defendants could bring up the claimed issues above with the county judges before indictment. The plaintiffs were thus denied class status by the court. [18]


The Scott County Times has served Scott County since 1939. It is a weekly publication owned by Emmerich Newspapers, Inc.[citation needed]

The Spirit of Morton has also been serving the Scott County area; its publisher/owner is Keisha Mason.




Census-designated places[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Robertson, Campbell. "In a Mississippi Jail, Convictions and Counsel Appear Optional." The New York Times. September 24, 2014. Print: September 25, 2014, p. A15 ("In a Mississippi Jail, Convictions and Counsel Appear Optional"). Retrieved on September 26, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Lynching in America, 2nd edition, Supplement by County, p. 5
  6. ^ a b Associated Press, "Mississippi Race War/ Counting Its Victims by the Dozen", Los Angeles Herald, Volume 26, Number 25, 25 October 1898; California Digital Newspaper Collection; accessed 20 March 2017
  7. ^ "Fierce Race War in Mississippi", San Francisco Call, Volume 84, Number 146, 24 October 1898; California Digital Newspaper Collection; accessed 19 March 2017
  8. ^ [ "Casualties to Date", New Orleans Picayune, October 24, 1898; reprinted within Los Angeles Herald article
  9. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b Karen Houpper, "Challenging Mississippi’s depraved justice system: Months in jail, with no indictment and no lawyer", Salon, 23 September 2014; accessed 17 March 2017
  17. ^ CAMPBELL ROBERTSON, "In a Mississippi Jail, Convictions and Counsel Appear Optional", 24 September 2014; accessed 17 March 2017
  18. ^ "Burks v. Scott County". Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. 30 September 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2017.  (case ID: 3:14-cv-00745-HTW-LRA (S.D. Miss.))

Coordinates: 32°24′N 89°33′W / 32.40°N 89.55°W / 32.40; -89.55