Leaked inmate transfer order prompts policy change at Hinds County Sheriff’s Office

Crisler discusses a change in policy at the sheriff's department.
Crisler discusses a change in policy at the sheriff's department.(WLBT)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 7:18 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A leaked inmate transfer form ordering a Hinds County detainee to be relocated to a lower-security unit at the Raymond Detention Center has prompted a major policy change at the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office.

Thursday, WLBT received a document showing Board of Supervisors President Credell Calhoun had ordered detainee Miguel Forbes to be relocated to the Raymond work center.

Forbes was arrested by Clinton Police in July for being a convicted felon in possession of a concealed weapon. He previously had been convicted of selling marijuana and completed his sentence in 2017.

The order was approved by Assistant Warden Travis Crain, despite the document showing that Forbes did not qualify for the move based on his behavior.

It also shows that Crain signed off on the transfer, despite being advised that Forbes “did not meet the classification criteria for the work center.”

This form leaked to WLBT shows that Board of Supervisors President Credell Calhoun ordered an...
This form leaked to WLBT shows that Board of Supervisors President Credell Calhoun ordered an detainee at the detention center to be transferred.(Special to WLBT)

Sheriff Marshand Crisler said he learned about the order from WLBT and that to his knowledge, the detainee had not been moved.

However, as a result of the order, the sheriff said he was implementing a new standing order to prevent such transfers from happening without his knowledge.

“The previous administration had a relationship with the board of supervisors where the president of the board may make a phone call on behalf of a constituent so that the inmate may be relocated,” he said. “That is not uncommon... but it’s not a policy that I support.”

He did not say what administration put the policy in place and did not know how long it had been place.

Sources who spoke to WLBT on the condition of anonymity that supervisors in the past have never been able to order inmate transfers.

Crisler has been in office for roughly a month. He was appointed sheriff in mid-August by the board of supervisors following the death of Sheriff Lee Vance. Voting in favor of him were Supervisors Calhoun, Bobcat McGowan and Vern Gavin. Supervisors David Archie and Robert Graham abstained.

A special election to fill the remainder of Vance’s term is slated for November 2.

Crisler said his new policy would require all supervisors’ requests to come directly to his office, and that once he receives the requests, he would evaluate them and make a decision on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s not about control. It’s about maintaining a strict protocol when moving inmates,” Crisler said. “That should be under the purview of the sheriff’s office. Thank goodness, I have a fantastic relationship with the board of supervisors and I’d like to keep it, quite frankly.”

He said that no employees would be disciplined for following Calhoun’s order, because they were not violating any policy that was already in place.

“If a supervisor had the latitude to reach directly out to the jail, to the general administrator and her subordinates and say, ‘Hey, I want to move an inmate,’ it’s not anything they failed on,” Crisler said. “We have to make sure we tighten up the policies in place and put new policies in place.”

Calhoun, who represents District 3, issued the directive on September 16.

The supervisor, though, says that it was not an order but a request. “I don’t order anything with the jail,” he said.

Calhoun said he made the request after being contacted by Forbes’ family. He said the family asked if the detainee could be transferred to the work center so he could begin paying off fines.

“The facility administrator said it was doable and that’s what I requested,” he said. “I thought it was a pretty good deal for Hinds County because we’re definitely overcrowded at the detention center.”

“We’re trying to do as much as we can to relieve our burden. And we’ve had quite a bit of breakout of COVID, so we’re trying to reduce that number as much as we can,” Calhoun added.

The facility administrator is Maj. Katheryn Bryan, who was hired by the county recently. Byran referred all questions to Crisler.

Calhoun was not aware of Forbes’ charges, nor was he aware of how much the detainee was facing in fines.

Crisler did not know how many detainees were currently being held at the detention center. However, he said the jail right now is not overcrowded.

Forbes is currently being charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a concealed weapon, being in possession of a stolen firearm, possession of marijuana, and disorderly conduct.

He was arrested on July 12 and was awarded $100,000 in bonds on the firearm charges, according to the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office.

Crisler said he has already reached out to supervisor members, who are supportive of his new policy, adding that is the prerogative of the sheriff to determine whether detainees are moved.

“In this case, I’m certain this inmate was not vetted well enough. And that’s my job,” he said. “As sheriff, with this new policy I will be implementing, (I) will vet each inmate on a case-by-case basis before we move them from one facility to another.”

Forbes is facing multiple charges, including being a felon in possession of a concealed weapon.
Forbes is facing multiple charges, including being a felon in possession of a concealed weapon.(Hinds Co. Sheriff's Department)

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