Jackson Co. Supervisors plan next step after jail bond failure

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County Board of Supervisors President John McKay says not passing the multi-million dollar jail bond issue was a bad move for the community, and the county.

"We've still got the problem of the overcrowded jail and one that is outdated," McKay said. "We face lawsuits each and every day because of the overcrowding problems, and it's a danger to the community."

McKay believes to provide more safety, a new 550 bed jail needs to be built in Pascagoula. He says the board will seek other funding sources to make the project happen.

"A lease purchase agreement with a firm that can build the jail, and we pay a lease. The second option is there have been several banks that can finance it for us through themselves at pretty close to the same rate. It is going to cost you, the taxpayer, a little more money."

"I am glad it didn't pass," jail opponent Alice Baker said.

Jail opponents say the defeat is a big victory for citizens who don't want to see the facility go up in their neighborhood.

"When have you ever heard you are going to improve safety by putting a big jail in the middle of the city?" jail opponent John Simpson asked.

Supervisor McKay disagrees. And he says the county is not giving up on its plans.

"We can go through the bond issue process again," McKay said.

Opposition group members say the fight is not over for them either. The opponents say they plan to continue protesting until supervisors change their minds about building a jail at the current site.

"It is not that they do not need a jail. They are just asking that it be placed from all citizens, regardless of the what city comprised of Jackson County," jail opponent Tyres Autrey said.

"We have to take some action and take some action soon," McKay said.

McKay said State Representative Billy Broomfield will do what he can in the state legislature to help the county move the jail out of Pascagoula.