Grand jury wants to see Harrison Co. inmate work center reopen

Grand jury wants to see Harrison Co. inmate work center reopen

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Harrison County Work Center has been closed for a decade, but a grand jury is now saying it should be reopened. While this comes as good news to Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson, he also knows there's a lot that goes into reopening.

There used a to be a lot more activity at the Harrison County Work Center where dozens of state inmates were once housed to do work in the community.

"It's great news to us and we love to hear things like that, but it's not only reopening the work center. There's a lot of cost that's going to go to reopening the work center," Peterson said.

Peterson said before reopening the facility plumbing needs to be fixed.

"The other thing is housing state inmates here to actually do the work in the community, we would have to have an inspection from the Department of Corrections. They would have to come down and inspect the facility," he added.

In the past, close to 100 inmates filled the work center, along with officers on staff 24 hours a day. Peterson said all that is going to cost thousands of dollars currently not in the sheriff's department's budget.

"Do I think that it would be something that not only the community and the board of supervisors would say, yes, we need to open that up to get the work crews out the way they were before? Yes, I do. I think it will be a process that everybody will appreciate, but it's getting the state inmates back in our jail."

If the work center is able to reopen, Peterson said state inmates would go back to doing what they did before: helping with community events like church fairs or rodeos, as well as picking up trash and maintaining county vehicles. Peterson said he does planning on discussing the idea with county supervisors in the next few weeks.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.