George County supervisors search for ways to make the jail susta - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

George County supervisors search for ways to make the jail sustainable

George County supervisors are scrambling to fix a funding crisis at the George County Correctional Facility. Officials say last year, the facility lost close to $500,000 that the county had to make up. (Photo source: WLOX) George County supervisors are scrambling to fix a funding crisis at the George County Correctional Facility. Officials say last year, the facility lost close to $500,000 that the county had to make up. (Photo source: WLOX)
GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

In anticipation of a special meeting, George County District 5 Supervisor Henry Cochran analyzes a chart showing the amount of money in the George County Correctional Facility's reserve over the years. He and other county supervisors now scrambling to fix the problem that caused the money to shrink from more than a million dollars to zero.

"That jail operation has become a crisis to this county. Last year, we lost close to $500,000 that the county had to make up," Cochran said. 

The board says it all has to do with the state taking its prisoners out of county-run jails and placing them into private prisons.

"They came in one time and pulled 80 inmates. That's $800,000 a year loss to the county," Cochran said.

Those losses are adding up. This month, they were forced to take $100,000 out of the rainy day fund, and they'll likely have to do the same next month. 
But the supervisors say they know it's only a temporary fix.

"We're either gone add taxes, raise taxes and I don't think this board is ready to raise no taxes. I ain't. So that's where we're at, so we're gonna try to come up with a solution," Cochran said. 

Despite what's been said on social media, supervisors say shutting the jail down is only a last resort. At Tuesday's meeting, supervisors plan to brainstorm ways to cut costs like cutting overtime and becoming more energy efficient, all in an effort to halt the debt spiral.

"There's gotta be some decisions, tough decisions one way or the other, and nobody knows what that is at this point," Cochran said. 

In the meantime, the prison's warden, Sheriff Keith Havard, and the board are all looking for ways for the prison to sustain itself. Tuesday's meeting is scheduled for May 9 at 8am at the county administration building. 

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly