Jackson County jail controversy just won't go away - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson County jail controversy just won't go away

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Ocean Springs attorney Andy Alphonso considers himself a watchdog of the tax payers' money. He even filed a public records request for documents involving a new county jail.

Those documents show the engineering firm of Pryor and Morrow has been paid well over a million dollars since 2003, when the firm was first hired by the county to design a new jail. He wants the county to put the brakes on the project and start over. 

"I would like them to go on and make a stand. Stop the bleeding, so to speak," Alphonso said. "We've spent $1.3 million on a set of plans that don't exist. The bleeding will continue if they don't make a decision soon to turn this around." 

Some supervisors seem to agree.  Troy Ross is one of them. 

"I regret the fact that the county has spent that much money re-working and re-designing a jail," Ross said. "I would much rather that go into bricks and mortar."

"There's no doubt that if you look at the beginning from where they started in 2003 and where we are now, you can say there's substantial waste in that process," Supervisor Melton Harris said. 

Roger Pryor, one of the partners in the firm, disagrees. He said the firm has submitted plans, schematic drawings, and specs for bids on a new jail. He also feels the jail issue won't go away because of the nature of the project.

"No one wants to build a jail. They are controversial. But they are a component of modern life," Pryor said. 

Of the five supervisors who were on the board back in 2003 when the original contract was signed, only one remains. And John McKay steadfastly maintains the county has gotten its money's worth. 

"Well, I would disagree with the term wasted, simply because this has been a 12 year process. Neither one was on the board when this process actually started back three terms ago," McKay said. 

As for starting the process over, he offered this advice.  

"We can't just throw away everything that we've done. Then we really have wasted that potentially million dollars that we have spent to this point." 

Roger Pryor said that bids for site work on the new jail should go out in the next few weeks. 

Meanwhile, Alphonso said he has contacted the state auditor's office about the jail situation.  We talked with an official with the auditor's office who told us they are aware of the controversy, but would neither confirm nor deny if any investigation is underway.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Visiting youth group gives elderly woman access to outside again

    Visiting youth group gives elderly woman access to outside again

    Friday, June 22 2018 4:42 PM EDT2018-06-22 20:42:17 GMT
    The group poses for a picture on the new wheelchair ramp (Source: Brian K. Smith)The group poses for a picture on the new wheelchair ramp (Source: Brian K. Smith)

    Ms. Geraldine Payne was overwhelmed with thankfulness when a group of teenage volunteers showed up in her yard.  "I just feel like they are friends for the rest of my life, I'll put it like that. I'm thankful for them and I thank the good Lord for sending them to me, I really am," said Payne.  She enjoys having company, but it was hard for anyone to get up into her house to see her.   "Upon arriving here I noticed there was a rot...a completely rotten ...

    More >>

    Ms. Geraldine Payne was overwhelmed with thankfulness when a group of teenage volunteers showed up in her yard.  "I just feel like they are friends for the rest of my life, I'll put it like that. I'm thankful for them and I thank the good Lord for sending them to me, I really am," said Payne.  She enjoys having company, but it was hard for anyone to get up into her house to see her.   "Upon arriving here I noticed there was a rot...a completely rotten ...

    More >>
  • Stephen McKinney chosen as Beauvoir's new Executive Director

    Stephen McKinney chosen as Beauvoir's new Executive Director

    Friday, June 22 2018 4:19 PM EDT2018-06-22 20:19:03 GMT
    The Auburn University graduate has over 10 years of experience in the museum and tour business. (Photo source: Beauvoir Office)The Auburn University graduate has over 10 years of experience in the museum and tour business. (Photo source: Beauvoir Office)

    Beauvoir’s Board of Directors named Stephen McKinney as the new Executive Director. 

    More >>

    Beauvoir’s Board of Directors named Stephen McKinney as the new Executive Director. 

    More >>
  • Gulfport barber offers free haircuts to military and first responders

    Gulfport barber offers free haircuts to military and first responders

    Friday, June 22 2018 3:51 PM EDT2018-06-22 19:51:47 GMT
    William Devin, also known as “The Bearded Owl” is offering free haircuts to military personnel and first responders on July 2nd. (Photo source: William Devin)William Devin, also known as “The Bearded Owl” is offering free haircuts to military personnel and first responders on July 2nd. (Photo source: William Devin)
    William Devin, also known as “The Bearded Owl” is offering free haircuts to military personnel and first responders on July 2nd. (Photo source: William Devin)William Devin, also known as “The Bearded Owl” is offering free haircuts to military personnel and first responders on July 2nd. (Photo source: William Devin)

    William Devin, also known as “The Bearded Owl” is offering free haircuts to military personnel and first responders on July 2nd. 

    More >>

    William Devin, also known as “The Bearded Owl” is offering free haircuts to military personnel and first responders on July 2nd. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly