Jail Protestors Attempt To Block Jackson County Bond Issue

PASCAGOULA (WLOX) --- "No bond, no jail!"

That's the battle cry of citizens protesting plans for a new Jackson County jail in central Pascagoula.

"My sign says 'Stop Bond Issue & Move Jail.' We're not saying we don't want a jail; we're just saying to move it," Tyres Autrey said.

Protestors like Autrey chased down trucks and even bikes, to add names of voters that oppose the $20 million bond.

Autrey says this petition drive has become a last-resort because Jackson County Supervisors have not wavered on the jail's location despite citizen complaints and even a lawsuit.

"Most people can come and reason out of court to resolve the matter, but they are gung-ho and hell-bent on putting a jail on this site," Autrey said.

If the group can acquire enough signatures by Monday, they would stop the bond issue and force the county into a vote, and protestors believe that 1,500 signatures mean 1,500 problems with this proposed jail site.

"Why would you put a hard core criminal, child molester, murderer, whatever, next door to us?  Nobody wants it in their back door. We don't want it in our front door, back door or side door," Pascagoula resident Ernestine Stewart Black said.

Current facilities are a front-window view for Father Charles McMahon and his congregation.

"From the altar you could watch them exercising during services, which I don't have any problem with them, but in services I do!" McMahon said.

Father McMahon hopes the group's efforts will slow down the county's pursuits.

"A jail yes, we need it, but not here," McMahon said.

Organizers say they will continue to collect signatures tomorrow and will present the petition to the Circuit Clerk's office Monday morning.