Grand jury looks into Hinds County Jail - - The News for South Mississippi

Hinds supervisors hold closed session on jail

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RAYMOND, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The  Hinds County Board of Supervisors met Thursday morning to discuss a grand jury's probe into conditions at the jail.

The board quickly went into closed session and shared nothing with reporters afterward.

James Austin, president of a corrections research company called JFA Associates, also attended

The grand jury's service has been extended until the end of the year to give them time to look into the condition of the facility and the health of inmates.

Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green is also ordering a number of Hinds County officials to provide extensive documentation for the grand jury to review.

She's listed 11 items that she wants the county leaders to provide. Some of the items include:

  • Any previous and current reports of the jail's condition, security and safety
  • Current staffing levels and authorized medical, mental health and security positions
  • Average daily jail population, bookings and releases for the past two years
  • Current and prior reports on critical incidents, like escapes, for the past two years
  • Descriptions of the jail's layout
  • Documents detailing any aspect of the facility operations that might impair overall safety

Judge Green ordered county supervisors to provide $20,000 to hire jail experts to assist in the evaluation.

The Hinds County Sheriff's Office released a statement saying the department "appreciates the court's attention and potential involvement in issues plaguing our holding facilities."

The statement also said that members of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors have toured the detention center and "work began towards repairing some of the long standing issues."

According to papers filed with the Hinds County Circuit Clerk, the grand jury is looking at two issues at the jail. 

The first questions whether prisoners are being provided with information on the length of their sentence, and any fines they may be responsible for. The second involves an inspection of the county jail, it's condition, and the health of inmates.

According to Mississippi State Law, Sheriff Tyrone Lewis could be charged with a misdemeanor, and fined up to $50 if any violations are found.     

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