Hearing on who controls the troubled Hinds County jail

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JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) – Officials from Hinds County and the federal government will go before a federal judge in Mississippi on Monday to argue over who will control the county’s ailing jail.

The Clarion Ledger reported that a hearing before Judge Carlton Reeves is scheduled for Monday in Jackson, who is expected to decide later this month whether the federal government should take over the running of the prison.

The newspaper reports that county attorneys are expected to argue that they can continue operating the Raymond Detention Center to continue improvements. But federal prosecutors are expected to push for the prison to come under federal control to bring it into compliance with a consent decree issued in 2016.

The consent decree was issued to address “unconstitutional conditions” in prison. These conditions included safety issues such as cell doors not being locked and staff shortages.


Reeves has questioned the district’s claims that he is making progress in the right direction. Reeves said evidence from surveillance reports does not support this, noting that six inmates died in prison in 2021. Back in November, the judge gave county officials an ultimatum to make the prison safe or risk placing it under federal administration.

In December, county attorneys argued that court observers had not visited for 18 months, leaving the court with no up-to-date knowledge of prison conditions. They argued that there had been improvements in medical and mental health care for inmates, as well as building and cellular repairs and other improvements.

Reeves wrote in an order earlier this month that observers personally visited the jail on Jan. 24 and said it looked “essentially the same” as before.

As part of a receivership, an outside, appointed operator would be brought in to bring the prison into compliance with the Consent Decree.

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