Sheriff: Adams County leaders need to address jail needs

Published 12:03am Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NATCHEZ — Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said Tuesday he is open to the idea that the county privatize its corrections system, but regardless of what the county supervisors decide in that regard, something has to be done about the jail.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors agreed Monday to begin investigating — without necessarily committing to the idea — the possibility of having a private company operate the county lockup.

Mayfield said he has spoken with county leaders about the possibility of privatizing and that it is an option he is willing to explore. The other option is building a new jail, he said.

The potential cost of a new jail was one of the reasons Supervisor Mike Lazarus gave for why the supervisors should explore the options of having corrections operated by a private firm. Other reasons included that maintenance on the current jail is very expensive, liability to the county would decrease and a possible general savings could be made by contracting with an outside company.

Mayfield said Tuesday the maintenance and security concerns of the current jail will soon prompt action one way or the other

“In a building where security is paramount, that becomes a problem when you start having these issues with the locks, the (door) motors being burned out,” he said.

The jail’s heating and cooling systems are constantly in need of repair, the physical building has settled over time and cracks have appeared in the walls and many lighting fixtures are damaged.

“The inmates in there, they don’t have anything to do other than to try to mess something up,” Mayfield said. “(Things in the jail have) been broken, repaired, broken, repaired and broken and repaired again.”

Even the jail’s design needs improvement, Mayfield said.

“The general design of it is outmoded, outdated, and newer systems are a lot more secure in the way they are built, where it’s easier to watch the prisoners better than we can,” he said.

The sheriff’s office also needs more office space, Mayfield said, and he said that if a new jail was built or the prisoners were housed elsewhere it might be possible for the current jail area to be reclaimed for office space.

If a new jail is the option the county has to take, the sheriff said it would likely be built somewhere outside the city limits.

“Most new jail facilities are using pod systems like they did at (Adams County Correctional Center), which seem to be a little less costly,” Mayfield said. “It’s done prefabricated and they just come in and set it up. But if we do that, I can’t see that going with downtown or even finding the space in town to do that.”

While the sheriff said he does not think transporting prisoners to and from a facility outside the city limits would be a major problem, he said justice court already allows for video arraignments and preliminary hearings.

Two factors will ultimately be important in what decision is made, Mayfield said.

“We have to ask what is most cost-effective and what can we afford to do?” he said.

“The other thing is my employees. I am going to take care of them.”

 

 

 

  • Anonymous

    I assume the Preservation Commission will have a lot to say about building a prefab incarceration facility in the city limits. Maybe we can convert the Old Isle of Capri when it folds? Just move it further out into the river so they will have to swim to shore in that treacherous current and you probably won’t even need cells.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    This is very sound judgement and also if it saves money to the taxpayers is all that needs to be said!! Need to also get Judge Vess a court room set up at the prison to stop transit(GETERDONE)!!

  • Anonymous

    I support the idea of a jail-justice court complex out in the county. Private prisions might work, but having county employees would at this time be best for long term law enforcement in Adams county. While the cost might seem high (1 million plus) it could be paid for through a bond issue and uncollected fines maybe over a 10 year period. Also, by statute counties are allowed to have a work farm. This could also reduce costs and give the minimal security inmates something to do. I really hope the supervisors will take a serious look at making this proposal a reality.

  • Anonymous

    I’M JUST GOING TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THIS MAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAL WHAT ADAMS COUNTY WOULD LOOK, FEEL, HERE AND TASTE LIKE IF THIS MAN WERE MAYOR ? CHUCK; I KNOW IT’S BEEN DIFFICULT FOR YOU SINCE JAKE GOT OUT OF DODGE. I ALSO KNOW IT’S BEEN DIFFICULT FOR YOU SINCE BUTCH REPLACED JAKE. YOU CAN’T GET BUTCH IN THE PALM OF YOUR HANDS LIKE YOU DID JAKE. BUTCH IS A OLD COON AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT AGE. YOU ARE REALLY BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD SPOT. I SEE YOU ARE STARTING THE NEW YEAR OFF *BEGGING AND PLEADING*. I JUST CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY ALL OF THE THINGS YOU ARE INVOLVED IN HAVE TO BE TOP NOTCH, WHILE OTHERS FOLKS S… IS FALLING APART. YOU COMPLANT, BITCH, FUSS, TUSS, MUSS ABOUT EVERYTHING. LET ME SAY A FEW WORDS SO YOU WANT THINK I’M PICKING ON YOU.. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HEARD THE FIRE CHIEF COMPLANT ? HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HEARD THE CHIEF OF POLICE COMPLANT ? HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HEARD THE MAYOR COMPLANT ? HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HEARD CITY HALL COMPLANT ? HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HEARD ME COMPLANT ? ARE YOU PLANNING ON RUNNING FOR REELECTION ? IF SO, WE THE PEOPLE GOT TO FIND SOMEONE TO WHIP YOU OUT. WE ARE TIRED OF ALL OF THE COMPLANTS. IN THE MEAN TIME, DO YOUR JOB AND BUTTON UP YOUR LIPS, THAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST FAVORITE FOR N.A.C.

  • Anonymous

    We need to remember this isn’t a levee project, but it is a government project. Accordingly, our $1MM estimate will balloon to over $5MM before it is built, particularly if Chuck gets all his bells and whistles, to wit, chrome rims and sunroof on his company car.

  • Ashley Kirk

    First off you need to learn how to spell and how to use proper grammar. It is Complain not Complant.. Hello spell check… And Second your an Idiot sit down and shut up..

  • https://plus.google.com/101785462960818953428/posts Wilson Phillips

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Isle of Capri to close it’s doors. They are kicking some Magnolia Bluff butts right now.

    The Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel. Natchez’s #1 casino!

  • Anonymous

    Hey, perhaps enclose the two story parking garage? LOL