Jackson County supervisors consider jail plans

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County continues to wrestle with the issue of building a new jail. Supervisors are weighing the benefits and drawbacks of a traditional "bricks and mortar" design, versus a more modern "hub and spoke" facility built with composite materials.

There was much more talk on Monday, but still no decision from supervisors about which type of jail to build.

An independent report from Yates Construction shows the "hub and spoke" jail is about eight million dollars less expensive to build, but there are other factors to consider.

The board heard final pitches from the two competing companies.

"Anybody can come up here and make statements about what a building that doesn't exist is going to cost to run," said Roger Pryor with Pryor & Morrow.

He represents the group proposing a traditional "bricks and mortar" style jail to replace the aging, overcrowded Jackson County Adult Detention Center. Pryor says supervisors should consider more than simply construction cost.

"Do you want to send your jobs to Tishamingo County, or do you want to hire local people? Local masons, local steel workers, local concrete people," he said.

Pryor told supervisors an energy cost comparison of two existing jails shows the "dome style" costs more.

"It could cost Jackson County $50,000 a year extra in energy costs, based on existing facilities that are in operation," he told the board.

"The main thing we're here to talk to you about is your jail, and saving money on your jail," said David Deaton, who represents Southeastern Composites, the company proposing the domed "hub and spoke" design.

"It's new technology. It's not a square building. Ask any jail administrator out there. The square building is old technology. Whether it's the dome structure or not, you need the "hub and spoke" where you have direct line of sight," Deaton told supervisors.

Scott County has a new dome-style detention center. The jail administrator there backs the security benefit in that newer design.

"With the composite style dome, there's no way for them to get out. There's no way for them to go anywhere. There's nothing to peck through, nothing to climb over, nothing to go around," said Jail Administrator Brad Carson.

Supervisors will now get input from the sheriff on both designs.

"We will discuss this in detail. And then be prepared to possibly make some decision here in the near future," promised Board President Melton Harris.

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