Sparks fly at Board of Supervisors meeting over condition of food at county lockup

Raymond Detention Center
Raymond Detention Center(WLBT)
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:19 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - More fireworks at the Hinds County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday.

This time, it was an argument between Sheriff Tyree Jones and District 2 Supervisor David Archie over the quality of food served at the Raymond Detention Center.

Archie likened the food to “slop,” saying he’s gotten numerous complaints from detainees that it is often inedible.

“A lot of it spoiled. The milk is spoiled. Every time they receive milk, nine times out of ten it is spoiled,” he said. “And the Kool-Aid, just let’s talk about the Kool-Aid. I’ve heard on too many different occasions that even the Kool-Aid that they’re receiving doesn’t have any sugar.”

Sheriff Tyree Jones refuted Archie’s claims, saying detainees are fed meals based on the food service contracts approved by the board.

He also refuted claims about spoiled milk and unsweetened Kool-Aid, saying they were “false accusations.”

“I go to the jail personally. I know for a fact, because I see it with my own eyes, that our detainees are not being fed slop,” he said. “If the sheriff was feeding detainees slop, David Archie and the board of supervisors would be the ones responsible for buying the slop because they are responsible for food contracts and food services.”

Detainees are fed three meals a day, and menus vary based on the food services’ offerings. Breakfasts include things like oatmeal, cereal, and scrambled eggs. Lunches and dinners include hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, and the like.

Archie lamented the fact that inmates were not fed toast, fried eggs, and boiled eggs at breakfast.

As of Monday morning, 611 detainees were housed at the Raymond facility.

Jones went on to tell supervisors the matter likely could have been discussed in private and that Archie was grandstanding in front of the cameras.

“There could have been another way to handle this,” he said. “He decided to do this publicly, so I addressed him publicly.”

Archie first brought up the issue during the claims portion of the meeting, when he asked about a roughly $100,000 claim for food services for the Penal Farm and the Raymond Detention Center.

“I get calls nearly every month about the way that the detainees are eating at the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department’s Detention Center,” he said. “Just because you’re in jail, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be treated badly.”

Jones countered the supervisor’s comments during his report. The two would go on to spend some 15 minutes on the topic before moving on.

For his part, Archie said he plans to make an unannounced visit to the jail to check out the food and ask detainees about it.

Jones said he’s welcome to visit the detention center but does not have a statutory right to question detainees.

Detainees have not been convicted of crimes, and the sheriff’s department will not pull them aside to serve Archie’s investigative purposes.

Meanwhile, the sheriff says the board could save money and increase accountability by cutting down on its large number of food vendors.

Jones says he’s brought up the matter before, but no action was taken. He also says there have been instances where the detention center hasn’t been able to get food because vendors hadn’t been paid.

“If we use one vendor, we’re able to save the county money,” he said. “We’re able to hold that one vendor accountable for making sure that we have everything that we need in a timely manner.”

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