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County needs unbiased jail consultant

Adams County is beginning to mull over the notion of building a new county jail.

Before county leaders get too deep into their discussions, we hope the county carefully considers all its options.

The sheriff says the existing jail is simply outdated and worn out. He points to high maintenance costs as justification that a new facility is needed. He may be correct, and he certainly knows the facility well.

Supervisors are the ones charged with managing the county’s finances, not the sheriff, so the five supervisors need to understand the facts and weigh the various options.

We are slightly skeptical of the consulting firm that aims to provide a no-cost study about the jail facility. We can only imagine that with a no-cost study the consultants are hoping to earn money by suggesting that something be done.

If the county is serious about this, why not hire an actual firm, a firm that understands going into the deal that the only money they’ll make is from their report, not from subsequent building projects. That firm should be tasked with offering up multiple scenarios.

Could the existing jail be renovated to eliminate the maintenance issues and modernize the facility?

If a new facility is needed, what would it cost and where would it be best located?

How much ongoing taxpayer money could be saved if the county combined with the Natchez City Jail to create a new Natchez-Adams County Jail facility used by both entities?

Logic points to potential savings there with having a need for fewer administrators, for example.

Of course, while we’re at it, we still fail to understand why in a community our size we continue to have separate radio dispatching forces for 911 and Natchez city calls vs. Adams County Sheriff’s Office calls. It just doesn’t make sense.

Neither does heeding the advice of an “unpaid” consultant. We might very well need a new jail, but we need an unbiased study to know the facts.