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Consider This: Hinds County Jail

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 6:49 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Jackson has reached a new record for murders, surpassing the previous record of 128 killings set last year.

There are many factors leading to the horrific crime in the capital city, one being the situation at the county jail. Another is the major issue of not having a misdemeanor jail.

Hinds County is now facing the very real possibility of a federal takeover of the Raymond Detention Facility. Judge Carlton Reeves gave the county three weeks to tell him why the jail should not be put under federal receivership.

It has been five years since the jail was put under a federal consent decree, and according to Reeves, little has changed, and in some cases, may have gotten worse.

Reeves pointed out ongoing concerns, including severe staffing shortages, inadequate medical and mental health care for detainees, the presence of drugs and contraband, and cell doors that do not lock.

The detention center has 229 employees, about 90 fewer than it needs to be fully staffed. With such a huge staffing shortage, that leads to detainees running parts of the jail.

With newly elected sheriff Tyree Jones taking office this month, it is critical that he and the Hinds County Board of Supervisors implement a plan to get the jail up to acceptable standards.

Even with a new sheriff, seeing what little progress has been made by the supervisors over the past five years leaves little hope that positive change can happen quickly to stave off federal intervention. In fact, maybe that’s exactly what this facility needs.

Judge Reeves says receiverships are “extraordinary remedies that should be employed with utmost caution.” However, with the terrible conditions and mismanagement at the Raymond Detention Center, this could be that one situation where federal oversight is warranted and extremely necessary.

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