Recent Publications

COVID-19 Response: Resources for Small and Mid-Size Farms in Mississippi

Emily Broad Leib, Alex Ramsey, and Emma I. Scott of the Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a number of new and difficult challenges for families, small business owners, and food producers across the country. This Issue Brief provides an overview of the resources... PDF Download

COVID‐19 Response: Feeding Mississippi Children During School Closure

Emily Broad Leib, Suzanne Donahue, and Emma Scott of the Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic

Across the country, states have needed to use school closures and remote learning as strategies for reducing the spread of COVID‐19. On April 14, 2020, Mississippi leaders announced that children... PDF Download

The Economic Impact of Potential Closures of Rural Hospitals in Mississippi

M. Maya McDoom, Ph.D., M.P.H., Cyril Chang, Ph.D., John Gnuschke, Ph.D., et al.

Rural hospitals across the nation are facing a crisis due to ever-changing economic, policy, and population factors. To better understand how the present economic climate and policies are impacting... PDF Download

Improving Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment in Juvenile Detention Facilities

Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

Mental health and substance abuse treatment services are an essential component of a well-functioning rehabilitative juvenile justice system. These services are especially important in juvenile detention... PDF Download

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Publications by date:

June 1st, 2015

Public Corruption in Helena, Arkansas: Analysis and Recommendations

Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

In Spring 2014, Mississippi Delta Project’s Economic Development team researched the causes of and possible solutions for the high crime rate in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas (“Helena”). In connection with this research, the team conducted a series of interviews with Helena citizens and community leaders. The team’s research and interviews revealed that recent events had frayed the community’s faith in its public institutions. In October 2011, the now well-known federal drug investigation called Operation Delta Blues culminated with the arrest of five local law enforcement officials on charges of attempted racketeering.1 During its investigation, the Economic Development team learned of additional allegations of mismanagement and wrongdoing by public officials, including a pattern of dismissing criminal cases for lack of a timely trial which enabled alleged criminals to walk free, and repeated ethics violations by at least one Phillips County judge. The team decided to build upon its previous report, released in Fall 2014, which focused on crime-reduction strategies for Helena, by offering a more pointed analysis and strategies to address these problems of corruption. The goal of this report is to provide policy-makers in Helena with options for addressing corruption in order to reduce the negative economic impact that stem from such corruption and increase community trust in public institutions.

September 1st, 2014

Crime Reduction in Helena, Arkansas

Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project Economic Development Team

This report was created at the request of Southern Bancorp Community Partners (“SBCP”) in order to examine policies for improving the economic circumstances in Helena-­‐West Helena, Arkansas (referred to as both “HWH” or “Helena” in this report) through strategies for crime reduction. HWH has an extraordinarily high crime rate, which not only affects the citizens who are direct victims of these offenses, but also the city’s economic fortunes by deterring potential customers, investors and other sources of tax revenue. SBCP is a nonprofit with a mission to transform rural southern Communities. SBCP works in a partnership with Southern Bancorp (“Southern”), one of the nation’s largest rural economic development banks. SBCP’s geographic focus is on the Mississippi Delta region and southern Arkansas. This report will detail a variety of policy options available to community leaders in Helena-­‐West Helena to lower crime and increase the efficacy of criminal justice policies. While these general policies have been enacted in demographically similar cities, our recommendations have been customized to Helena’s particular geography and community settings.



The Delta Directions Mission

The Delta Directions Consortium is an interdisciplinary network of individuals, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and foundations that work together to create positive social change in the Mississippi Delta Region by improving public health and promoting economic development. The Consortium is not an independent non-profit organization, but rather an alliance of partners committed to collaborative problem-solving.

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Donations to support the work of Delta Directions can be made to the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi or the Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi. When making a gift, note that your donation benefits Delta Directions.

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