Harrison County sheriff says time to end federal jail oversight - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harrison County sheriff says time to end federal jail oversight

Harrison County's sheriff says it's high time to end nearly 16 years of federal oversight at the county jail. Harrison County's sheriff says it's high time to end nearly 16 years of federal oversight at the county jail.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Sheriff Melvin Brisolara says it's time to end federal oversight of the Harrison County jail.

The U.S. Justice Department intervened 16 years ago because of complaints about overcrowding and understaffing at the lock-up. Those issues have been addressed, but the federal oversight team keeps finding others.

"As you can see, it's the deputy up here, the control tower officer who has complete control of all the doors," said Warden David Sanderson, as he gave a tour of the jail facility off Seaway Road in Gulfport.

New doors and new locks were a big part of the $13 million in jail improvements in 2008.

"That was a major issue we had with the doors was the fact they were swing doors," Sheriff Brisolara explained. "So every door's been changed to a slider, which is a lot safer for the inmates and correctional staff."

The kitchen is also safer and Justice Department compliant.

"We replaced every bit of the cooking equipment down here," said the sheriff. "We completely took the floor out of this facility and replaced the floor in here to get it to comply with what justice wanted."

The sheriff said more jail staff was hired, training programs expanded and the inmate population lowered; all to comply with federal orders.

"At 16 years of this, somebody is not doing their job. This court decree should have never lasted this long. Either they aren't doing theirs or we aren't doing ours. And if it's us, then they need to come down here and run it," said Sheriff Brisolara.

The sheriff said the demands from the Justice Department team have become a moving target. Once he satisfies one area, they call for changes in another. The latest is the call for more improvements in the medical area: more mental health counselors and better treatment for inmates with AIDS.

"We increased the medical staff to try and get the medical attention that they need, but it's not a hospital here. And this is not a prison, this is short term."

The sheriff shared his frustrations with county supervisors this week.

One option: A lawsuit.

"I think that word was used. And you know, it might get to that point. We'll just have to see what the next visit brings and go from there," said the sheriff.

A team from the Justice Department visited the jail last month and will return in November.

The team does an on site inspection at the Harrison County jail twice a year. Plus, the sheriff must send detailed monthly reports to Washington.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Officials identify veteran killed in Gulfport fire

    Officials identify veteran killed in Gulfport fire

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 1:00 PM EDT2018-07-17 17:00:55 GMT
    Afternoon showers did not make it any easier to fight the flames coming from the trailer (Source: WLOX)Afternoon showers did not make it any easier to fight the flames coming from the trailer (Source: WLOX)
    Afternoon showers did not make it any easier to fight the flames coming from the trailer (Source: WLOX)Afternoon showers did not make it any easier to fight the flames coming from the trailer (Source: WLOX)

    We now know the identity of the Marine Corp veteran killed in a mobile home fire Sunday in Gulfport.

    More >>

    We now know the identity of the Marine Corp veteran killed in a mobile home fire Sunday in Gulfport.

    More >>
  • MS National Guard's 155th take charge of Operation Spartan Shield

    MS National Guard's 155th take charge of Operation Spartan Shield

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 12:08 PM EDT2018-07-17 16:08:08 GMT
    155th Armored Brigade Combat Team commander, Col. Doug Ferguson, and senior enlisted advisor Cmd. Sgt. Maj. John Beasley, uncase the brigade colors at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, July 15. (Photo source: Sgt. Brittany Johnson/155th Armored Brigade Combat Team)155th Armored Brigade Combat Team commander, Col. Doug Ferguson, and senior enlisted advisor Cmd. Sgt. Maj. John Beasley, uncase the brigade colors at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, July 15. (Photo source: Sgt. Brittany Johnson/155th Armored Brigade Combat Team)
    155th Armored Brigade Combat Team commander, Col. Doug Ferguson, and senior enlisted advisor Cmd. Sgt. Maj. John Beasley, uncase the brigade colors at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, July 15. (Photo source: Sgt. Brittany Johnson/155th Armored Brigade Combat Team)155th Armored Brigade Combat Team commander, Col. Doug Ferguson, and senior enlisted advisor Cmd. Sgt. Maj. John Beasley, uncase the brigade colors at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, July 15. (Photo source: Sgt. Brittany Johnson/155th Armored Brigade Combat Team)

    The Mississippi National Guard's 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team is now in charge of Operation Spartan Shield at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. And they're making history as the first National Guard BCT to ever have this mission. 

    More >>

    The Mississippi National Guard's 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team is now in charge of Operation Spartan Shield at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. And they're making history as the first National Guard BCT to ever have this mission. 

    More >>
  • Seabee Base security training sounds, feels like a real emergency

    Seabee Base security training sounds, feels like a real emergency

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:37 AM EDT2018-07-17 15:37:03 GMT
    Gulfport Seabee Base security forces were put into a situation only being told that it was going to be training. Then they had to respond as if it were the real deal. (Photo source: WLOX)Gulfport Seabee Base security forces were put into a situation only being told that it was going to be training. Then they had to respond as if it were the real deal. (Photo source: WLOX)
    Gulfport Seabee Base security forces were put into a situation only being told that it was going to be training. Then they had to respond as if it were the real deal. (Photo source: WLOX)Gulfport Seabee Base security forces were put into a situation only being told that it was going to be training. Then they had to respond as if it were the real deal. (Photo source: WLOX)

    Gulfport Seabee Base security forces were put into a situation only being told that it was going to be training. Then they had to respond as if it were the real deal.

    More >>

    Gulfport Seabee Base security forces were put into a situation only being told that it was going to be training. Then they had to respond as if it were the real deal.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly