Jackson Co. supervisors delay vote on new jail design

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Two decades of debating and still no decision on a new jail for Jackson County. Supervisors can't decide on what type of jail is best for the county.

Some thought a final decision could come Monday, but it didn't. And some board members are not happy with the delay.

Board President Melton Harris admitted he wasn't ready to vote on a new jail to replace the old one. Manly Barton backed him up saying it is just too early.

"I am not ready to make a decision today, but we are very, very close," Barton said.

The county hired Yates Construction to do a comparison of two designs. One is a brick-and-mortar building that's $29 million that can hold more than 800 beds. Then there's a modular dome style facility that is $5 million cheaper. It can hold the same amount of beds, but in a smaller space.

"It's been alleged to us that one facility requires fewer people to man. Well, I don't know that that's a complete true statement," Barton said.

Barton and Harris said there are still so many questions which need to be answered before saying yes to any plan.

"You want to make sure both designs are safe for the inmates. And you want to make sure you are not spending an excessive amount of money for either design," Harris said.

"I think as president of the board, I think it is your responsibility to call them on the carpet and get all these answers to all these questions," Supervisor Tommy Broadnax told Harris.

Supervisor Tommy Broadnax and John McKay said they want to see some action taken on the jail issue now.

"I was here ready to vote today," McKay said in the meeting. "For those who still have questions, and I still have questions. Like I said, I don't know if they'll all be answered when we call for the vote. But at some point in time we have to make a decision."

Supervisors said if they get all their questions answered soon, they could make a decision on this new jail design at the October 3 board meeting.

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