This is William Haymon, a sixteen-year-old Black boy who has spent more than 500 days incarcerated with adults in the Holmes County Jail, in Durant, Mississippi. In 2018, William was arrested at the age of thirteen on suspicion of armed robbery. He was released on bail but was arrested again and sent to an adult detention center without being indicted on any charges. When he was first detained by police, he was pepper sprayed with everyone in his zone, after being slapped by an older incarcerated adult male. William’s mother was soon successful in moving her son to a different part of the jail with men in their late teens and early twenties.
William was receiving disability due to his ADHD at the time of his arrest back in 2018, but has been denied special education services since being incarcerated almost two years ago. Due to the lack of educational services or other stimulating activity, William spends most days just watching television and sleeping. Pre-pandemic William’s mother was able to visit him for thirty minutes twice a month, but due to Coronavirus, his mother is no longer allowed to visit. Currently, William and his mother can only communicate through irregular, weekend phone calls. His mother does not currently know how William is doing mentally and physically and was notified that he needed to get stitches in his lip a few days after his sixteenth birthday.
William’s mother has discontinued the services of a local public defender who completed suicide in or around January 2020. The attorney currently representing the family has filed a Habeas Petition in January of this year, followed by a Motion for Speedy Trial in May of 2020, both times alleging that William’s civil rights were being violated by the State’s failure to prosecute the case(s). During the Speedy Trial hearing, an officer with the town police department testified that the investigations into both of the cases against William had stalled due to “turnover” within the department.
William Haymon’s case is a clear violation of his human rights. William, a child, has spent over 500 days in jail without seeing the outside world, surrounded by adult prisoners, some of them hardened criminals. William has not been indicted on any charges yet has been thrown into jail without a showing of probable cause to believe that he even committed a crime. Now due to the Coronavirus pandemic and William not being able to communicate with his mother, she worries for his health and safety. He recently had to spend his sixteenth birthday alone without his family. William is but one egregious example of how the system fails the Black youth in this Country and he, like all of them, deserves justice.
If you would like to join the fight to bring William home, there will be a Change.org petition below to sign so William can receive the justice he deserves and can be brought home. William Haymon, SAY HIS NAME!
Link to petition: http://chng.it/6Z6cNh2KZD