Consider This: Hinds County and State Partnership

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 5:59 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Nearly two years ago, we proposed an idea that Hinds County and the state of Mississippi work together to solve a shared challenge.

Two years later that idea is as relevant as ever. As you know, Hinds County is facing the very real possibility that the Raymond Detention Center could be placed in federal receivership.

At the state level, the situation at Parchman may be slightly better than it was in 2020 with Sean Tindell now leading the Department of Public Safety and Burl Cain running the Department of Corrections. However, just like the Raymond facility, the state prison is very old and continues to decay.

We again offer this possible solution: Shut down Parchman and shut down the Hinds County Jail, then work together, pool resources and build one all-encompassing detention center.

Newly elected Sheriff Tyree Jones, Lieutenant Governor Hosemann, Speaker Gunn, Sean Tindell and Hinds County Supervisors should at least have a conversation to discuss the possible partnership.

We’re still several weeks away from the new year and Jackson has already set a record for the number of murders in one year. Crime is also spiking in other communities across the region.

Like it or not, jails and prisons are not going away. With the terrible working conditions and low pay at the county jail, there are nearly 100 open positions at that facility. Parchman’s remote location in Sunflower County makes what is already a challenging task of hiring correctional officers even more difficult.

Having a new facility in the metro area would create a safer, better work environment for law enforcement and would also offer improved recruitment possibilities because of the larger population base and better qualified candidates.

It would also create a safer, more humane environment for the inmates. Not only would a new facility be safer, but it would also save taxpayer money… your money and my money.

Operating two facilities is expensive, so combining efforts should lead to a reduction in management costs, maintenance, and other operating expenses.

At the end of the day, it may not be possible to combine the operations, but it is certainly worth having a conversation to discuss the possibilities.

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