Jackson County jail transitioning to new facility

Jackson County jail transitioning to new facility
The new Jackson County Jail is up and running. (Photo Source: WLOX News)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The new Jackson County jail is up and running.

"We actually moved in December 4th," said the jail's director, Michael Wright.

For nearly 15 years, the county worked to build and fund a new jail to combat overcrowding and other issues in the old facility. Wright says he's pleased with how this design came out.

"It's over 105,000 square feet, compared to the old jail which was about 35,000 square feet. So it tripled in size," he said.

And with more space - the jail's population is much less of an issue.

"We've got a capacity of 752 inmates in here, booking area with 16 holding cells, we have a pre-classification area. And then from pre-classification they get spread throughout the facility," Wright said.

And that's not all the new facility has to offer.

"You have touch screen controls here, you have kiosks in the day rooms, you've got video visitation, there's a multitude of technological advances," Wright said.

But with a tab that could reach more than $30 million, many tax payers are wondering why the county is investing in a nicer living space for inmates.

"That's the big hang up between the public's perception and the corrections' perception. Everything that we have here is for the deputies and the officers to make their jobs more efficient," Wright said.

They say the upgraded facility will also make it safer for the inmates, staff and visitors, as well as the public. But with any new facility, there are a few glitches.

"We are having a few bugs here and there, a few technical difficulties, but the main thing is that all the locks work," said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell.

The jail's contractors will be on site until they are sure everything is working and operating like it is designed to.

The jail is named after Bruce Evans, a Jackson County sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.