Sheriffs face losing state inmates, millions from regional jails - - Jackson, MS

Sheriffs face losing state inmates, millions from regional jails

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Sheriffs across the state converged on the Capitol to meet with lawmakers and Mississippi Department of Corrections officials.

Top law officers are not pleased with plans to remove state inmates from regional jails, but at this point, the only hope could be inclusion in a special session.

Sheriffs from more than 20 counties met with lawmakers and the commissioner of MDOC about plans to return inmates that are currently at regional jails to state-run prisons.

The 15 regional facilities, most built by counties at the request of the MDOC, house non-violent state inmates.

The sheriffs' concerns are that they will be losing funding and forced to close those jails.

Private prisons in the state are paid over $41 per inmate per day, while regional facilities earn just over $29.

Jefferson County Sheriff Peter Walker's facility was built in 1997 and currently houses 260 state inmates.

"It would be devastating to my county," said Walker. "It really would if it happens because Jefferson County itself, the regional facility, actually stands alone. The county government they have very little input into our operations".

At the end of this legislative session, lawmakers appropriated $19.3 million in deficit funding for MDOC.

$7.1 million went to the private prison deficit, $9.3 million went to the medical deficit, but they did not provide the $3.6 million requested for the regional facilities deficit.

"We told the legislators and lawmakers what our deficit was in every one of our programs, and again during consideration for the deficit and the regionals, and it just wasn't there, and so you've hear then today," said Walker. "It's been a long hearing, but you've heard them today say we'll work on it for next year."

There are three private prisons housing just over 3,000 inmates. More than 3,963 inmates are housed in the 15 regional jails.

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