JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Disturbing surveillance video of a brutal inmate beating in my 3 On Your Side investigation last week shows just how out of control and troubled the Raymond Detention Center is.
Now, Hinds County District-1 supervisor Robert Graham responds to my questions about the future of the facility and he has some eye opening numbers when it comes to the cost of these on-going issues.
An attorney for Landon Veal wants to know why no detention center officers prevented this vicious 2018 attack and why it went on for several minutes before they responded.
The latest report from the U-S Justice Department’s monitor shows there’s still a shortage of staff to cover the 502 inmates housed here.
Hinds County supervisor Robert Graham said, “The current starting pay for a detention officer in Hinds County is around 25-hundred dollars a month.”
“We still cannot attract people because the perception of how dangerous it is at the Raymond Detention Center, but that’s just not the Raymond Detention Center, any detention center, any jail,” said Graham.
And then there is the constant need for damage, said Supervisor Robert Graham, caused on a regular and deliberate basis, by the inmates: trashed toilets and bathrooms, holes in the walls, smashed windows and more.
Since 2016, it has cost Hinds County $2,268,230.
Graham said this and other expenses take money away from things like much needed infrastructure repair around Hinds County.
So, why not tear down RDC and build a new jail?
Supervisor Graham said, “Talked with several of our other board members and there are a lot of things that are on the table and, uh, building a new jail.... everything is on the table. We’re looking at the feasibility of doing that right now. We can’t say that we’re going to do that. We still have to try to see if we can make things work in the old jail, but it’s obvious, not only to you and me, that everything is not working.”
So, roughly how much would a new jail cost?
“You can’t really give a ballpark figure because you have to know what size. You have to know what number. You have to buy land. It’s so many things that you have to consider that if I was to give you a number, it would be a total guess,” said Graham.
In the meantime, Graham said the board still has to see if it can make things work in the old jail, particularly when it comes to the amount of time inmates spend at Raymond Detention Center.
Robert Graham said, “Jail is not meant to be prison. We’re looking forward to working with the new district attorney and the new sheriff to where we can move some of these individuals out of there and keep the population low, hoping that if we lower the population and increase the staffing, that that will allow us to control or manage the jail better.”