Sheriff Payne Puts His Booking Area Online

Dianne Gatson-Riley is the director of corrections at the Harrison County Jail.

"We want the citizens to see that we're not in the business of abusing people," she said.

So she took WLOX News on a tour of the booking area.

"I just want to make sure that the citizens of Harrison County understand that safety and security in this facility is still our primary focus," she said.

That focus is now on the web 24 hours a day. A tiny camera gives web users a chance to see Harrison County jailers in action. The live booking feed is beamed to the world through the Harrison County Sheriff's Department website . It was set up as a reaction to the beating death of inmate Jessie Lee Williams.

"What has occurred has given the jail a black eye," the jail warden said. "It gives the appearance that we are not doing things as we should. When it's the direct opposite. The majority of the folks here are doing what needs to be done on a daily basis and they do a good job at it."

The Harrison County Jail is short 53 employees. Consequently, jailers are working four, 12 hour days. They're constantly dealing with drunks, and drug addits. And now they have a cloud hanging over them from a deadly beating in this corridor.

"The incident that has occurred does not by any means reflect what we do on a day to day basis," Gatson-Riley said, "because once again, we have some good people here that do a good job day after day. And it's with minimum resources. But they get the job done."

The booking area has just one camera linked to the Harrison County Sheriff's website. And every 10 minutes, you have to click the live feed icon to see it.

Sheriff Payne said there's only one other jail in the country that televises the activity in its booking room.