Five new jail facilities and one extension are in the works, which would add more than 1,500 beds across the state.
Unfortunately, Lauderdale County is not one of those counties slated to benefit from the increased beds.
“The chances of us getting one of the regional jail facilities or expanding on what we already have is slim to none,” said Sheriff Billy Sollie Monday afternoon. “There is a privately run facility at Lost Gap and a regional jail that serves Kemper and Neshoba counties just north of us so that pretty much takes us out of the picture.”
Kemper County’s existing regional facility is getting a 75-bed extension for female state prisoners, according to Mississippi Department of Correction Commissioner Chris Epps.
“We are growing around 1,000 inmates a year, and we need a place to put them,” said Epps.
The new beds would increase the total number of inmate beds to 4,600 in 16 regional jails. Sollie said the Lauderdale County Adult Detention Facility currently has 315 inmates, 36 of which are state inmates. Seventeen inmates are housed at the trusty facility on Hwy. 39 North. The maximum number of inmates the facility is supposed to house is 290.
The state spends nearly $30 per inmate per day plus medical expenses at the Medicaid rate to house prisoners at regional jails. Usually, the money at first is used to pay off the construction debt. Though regional jails house state inmates, many counties choose to add a wing to house county inmates as well.
Site preparation for a regional jail in Alcorn County that will hold 300 state prisoners and 150 county inmates has begun. Chickasaw County is seeing similar construction in the early stages as well on a 300 bed facility that will join onto a 148-
bed county jail.
The state’s 11 regional jails stay near or at capacity on most days, according to population counts.
Epps said officials from Claiborne and Harrison Counties have also inquired about getting approval from lawmakers to build regional jails. Legislative approval is required before a county can build a regional jail. After the lawmakers sign off, the Corrections Department oversees the building process.