Officials Look To Ease Overcrowding At Jackson County's Jail

Board of Supervisors President Tim Broussard admits the Jackson County Adult Detention Center is aging.

"The concrete is crumbling, the plumbing is deteriorating and the building has reached the end of its useful life span," Broussard said.

The jail was built nearly 30 years ago to hold about 160 prisoners. Right now, almost 400 men and women sit behind bars at the Jackson County Jail. Next month that number will drop when work is completed on a new $1.2 million dormitory, located behind the jail.

"Our plan is to move 116 people in this unit," Broussard said.

Broussard said the board's next goal is to break ground on a new $19 million jail that will hold 564 beds.

"We talked to several construction companies and they assure us, from ground breaking, it will take 12 to 18 months."

Broussard said after a review from the National Institute of Corrections in February, the county will also explore options on how non-violent offenders serve time.

"Stay home and work off their debt to the community, and there can be electronic house monitoring such as the electric bracelets, or wristlets. These are areas we need to look at."

Sheriff Mike Byrd was not available for an on-camera interview, but did say he's willing to work with county officials. Still, the ultimate decision is left up to a judge.

"We all have to sit down, and we need to address an on-going situation at the jail. And the true situation is there are too many people coming into this facility, but it has to be a partnership."

The new modular dormitory is expected to be finished by May. The dormitory will house female inmates and trustees.