OXFORD — The Mississippi Access to Justice Commission has released the following statement about funding shortfalls and North Mississippi Rural Legal Services:
“As the economy continues in a downward spiral, so does funding to sustain vital programming that serves the legal needs of Mississippi’s most vulnerable communities. The Mississippi Access to Justice Commission is disheartened by the news that North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, a member organization, is struggling to retain critical resources that contribute in such a meaningful way to the cause of justice.
“With one legal services lawyer per every 18,000 eligible individuals, and an estimated 600,000 people living at or below poverty in Mississippi, the crisis of access to justice for the poor has long been under prioritized. It is our hope that these unfortunate circumstances give rise to a statewide call to action to refocus our efforts on sustainable delivery systems, funding and resources.
“This is not a North Mississippi Rural Legal Services problem; it is a national problem in our fight for equal access to justice.”