Harrison County Hiring More Jailers

GULFPORT (WLOX)-- "We've got to get past the point of what's been happening in that jail. And let's move forward. I think it's best to pay for it up front, than on the back end," Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara told the board of supervisors Monday.

He has been busy crunching the budget numbers. His bottom line for supervisors: A $2.2 million budget amendment.

"That is correctional officer positions for the security of the jail," he says.

The extra money will allow the sheriff to hire 22 new jailers. He told supervisors that will bring jail staffing to the highest level since the facility was built.

"Bringing the manpower to that level, it puts us four officers on the floor, one out of those officers is a sergeant. Now, that's four on the floor in each pod. One of those being a sergeant. Then it gives us a lieutenant that will supervise two pods, so you have two lieutenants per shift," the sheriff explained.

Sheriff Brisolara reminded supervisors the federal court order which helps oversee operations at the jail emphasizes three things: lack of personnel, lack of supervision and lack of training.

"We've got to start moving forward and get this changed. We've had 12 officers out of that facility go to prison. We've got to get past this," he told the board.

Supervisors took a close look at the numbers, then agreed to go along with increasing the sheriff's budget by up to the $2 million requested.

"I think you basically, you're going to have the support of the board. Nobody at this point is screaming or shouting, 'Take him out and hang him,'" said Board President William Martin.

The sheriff will start filling the 22 new jail positions as soon as possible.