Supervisors Consider Privatizing Jail - - The News for South Mississippi

Supervisors Consider Privatizing Jail

Jessie Williams' death and the rising costs of running the jail have the Harrison County Supervisors considering hiring a private company to take over the jail.

Monday, the supervisors heard from representatives of two companies, both of which already oversee jails in Mississippi. The supervisors asked each company to prepare cost proposals and submit them by December first.

"You can have a fixed budget, so you know how much from year to year. We can't come back to you and say, 'Oh, we didn't do something right. We didn't calculate something right.' You pay us per day, per inmate on those services and that really helps you," Ray Hodge of Corrections Corporation told the supervisors.

Cloid Shuler of the GEO Group said, "It's more difficult to do what you're asking us to do, and that is to do a smooth transition with an existing facility and existing staff and transition that and do it smoothly. But, I can tell you, we've done it and we've done it well. But it's hard work to do."

The supervisors passed a motion asking Sheriff George Payne to participate in the privatization proposal, and asked the sheriff to open the jail to the companies.

Payne had no comment on the board's action, but the sheriff has said in the past he is not interested in privatizing at this time. By law, the sheriff must approve privatizing the jail.

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