Lafayette County, Stonewater agree to settlement following lawsuit

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Lafayette County and Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center agreed to a settlement following the county’s move to file an injunction against the facility in December.

The County alleged that the issue of Stonewater residents leaving the premises, referred to as elopements, rose to the level of a public nuisance. The suit also alleged Stonewater’s hands-off policy with regards to elopements could be construed as a form of abuse and neglect.

The two parties agreed to a settlement on Feb. 21 which outlines certain actions Stonewater must take in exchange for the county’s dismissal of the lawsuit.

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Stonewater agreed to hire a 24-hour on-site security officer charged with detecting and monitoring runaways, install 24-hour window and door alarms to be activated during the evenings, install an eight-foot fence around the perimeter of the property with lockable gates where appropriate, install high-resolution cameras to “create perimeter coverage to detect eloping residents from its property,” implement a community-notification system to notify residents when an elopement occurs and implement policy recommendations from their own retained expert as agreed to with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.

The order was signed by Judge Lawrence Little and filed in the Lafayette County Chancery Court on Monday.