HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The aging Harrison County Adult Detention Center will soon get a $2.5 million upgrade. The Harrison County Board of Supervisors has given the green light for the badly-needed improvements at the jail and have already sent out requests for proposals to begin the process.
The Harrison County jail, which is located just off Seaway Road in Gulfport, hasn’t had a major upgrade in years, said Sheriff Troy Peterson, adding that this round of improvements is long overdue.
The repairs that are needed will make significant upgrades to the safety of all individuals on property.
“We’re looking at putting in a new camera system," said the sheriff. "That would benefit not only the officers but the inmates as well.”
In addition to new software and computer upgrades, the outside of the prison will see more surveillance and security. The concertina wire, which is the large coils of barbed wire fencing often seen at jails and prisons, is set to be replaced.
“What we’re doing with the fence is we’re replacing the concertina wire and the barbed wire around the perimeter fence," explained Sheriff Peterson. "We’re using barbed wire from the 70s but it’s still the same technology.”
Because the windows in the main towers of the jail are Lexan windows, which is a strong polycarbonate material, Peterson said that it’s becoming foggy and can’t be cleaned.
“Some of the structural windows that are around the facility are rusting to where they need to be replaced," explained the sheriff. "The inside, the towers of the jail, the glass is so fogged up you can’t clean it. There’s no way to clean it, it’s just old. So replacing some of the glass inside the jail.”
The last time the county jail was upgraded was ten years ago when $10 million of improvements were made. Those renovations came after a grand jury said the jail was “a real hazard to public safety” where “virtually nothing of consequence works.” That was in 2008. Renovations to upgrade the jail began that same year but it was the last time the facility has seen such improvements.
“Going back and looking, I think 2008 is when the previous administration did repairs to the jail," said the sheriff. "I think when you have a 30-year-old facility, over 30 years old, and the fences are over 30 years old and the building’s 30 years old, you need to do repairs on it.”
The Harrison County Board of Supervisors has already issued the bond and sent out requests for proposals. Sheriff Peterson says that once the proposals have been approved, he will have a better estimate of when the work can begin and when it will be completed.