Plans In Place To Alleviate Overcrowding At Jackson County's Jail - - The News for South Mississippi

Plans In Place To Alleviate Overcrowding At Jackson County's Jail

Behind the fences, the barbed wire and the steel bars of the Jackson County Adult Detention Center are more murderers and rapists, burglars and drunk drivers than ever before.

"Overcrowding has been a problem here for a while and everybody understands that," Board of Supervisors' President Tim Broussard says.

Broussard says the county has been searching for a solution to its jail crowding problem for years.

"I know it sounds simplistic, but the reason why the jail was so overcrowded is there are too many people coming in to the jail. "

The jail in Pascagoula was built in the late 70s to hold a maximum of 120 to 160 inmates. Neither Sheriff Mike Byrd nor any other county official would give us the exact number of inmates housed at the facility, but the estimate is well over 400.

Signs of a short term solution are right behind the jail. Construction is underway to bring in a modular dormitory. Broussard says it should be ready to house inmates in four months.

"The new dormitory is 7,000 square feet. We have budgets about $1.2 million and it will house right at 115."

That's not all. Broussard says the county also plans to build a new jail nearby to, hopefully, alleviate the overcrowding for good.

"We do have a piece of property in this area. We actually own a substantial amount of property that runs between Telephone Road and Kenneth Street and the railroad track," Broussard says.

A new jail would house 500 inmates.

Supervisors know they have to have concrete plans in place for a review next month by the National Institute of Corrections.

"What they do, they come and look from top to bottom the justice, criminal system from our courts all the way down to ADC building. And when they leave here, they are going to give us some recommendations, some alternatives, and maybe some different ways to incarcerate people," Broussard said.

Sheriff Byrd says his officers and staff are working diligently to fix the overcrowding problem.

By Patrice Clark

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