House arrest program to free up jail beds

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Harrison County sheriff is preparing to move forward with a new "house arrest" program that should help reduce the ongoing problem of jail overcrowding.

The county is under a federal court order that sets a limit on the number of inmates housed at the adult detention center.

Sheriff Melvin Brisolara says the "house arrest" program county supervisors approved this week could free-up around 200 beds. Supervisors agreed to set aside $310,000 toward the program.

The sheriff says a long term solution to overcrowding will include finding better ways to process accused criminals through the justice system.

"What we have to do is get the district attorney's office and the courts to look at these cases, and let's stick the prosecution and defense's feet to the iron. And let's get them to trial as quick as we can," Sheriff Brisolar said. "I still have people in this facility who have not gone before a judge in several years. I've got people who have been here over four to five years. We've got to get them out of this facility."

The sheriff says he will continue to meet with the district attorney and judges to see what can be done to move criminal cases through the system more efficiently.

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