Let’s stop the blame game over the jail

Published 2:24 am Sunday, August 13, 2023

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This has not been a banner couple of weeks at the sheriff’s office with jailbreaks, high-speed pursuits, flooding and an apparent breakdown of communications.

Supervisor Kevin Wilson

And, mind you, every bit of this is the Board of Supervisors fault. Just because you say it, doesn’t mean it is true!

The latest incident involved a so-called criminal mastermind, who by the way broke out of one side of the jail to get to the other. He is still in jail either way, but in the process he breaks a water line that floods three floors of the jail. And still gets the girl before he is stopped.

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Did I mention the staff was warned that the area he broke out of was not secure and to keep inmates out of that area? They forgot to pass that on, I guess.

Let’s talk about the county jail for a minute. First of all, let’s keep in mind that, if you are there it is either because you work there or you probably have committed a crime, and you don’t get to stay at the Holiday Inn.

This place is nasty. It doesn’t matter how much we spend on it, the jail is an outdated, poorly-designed building, and has been that way for 20 years or more.

The current board of supervisors has done everything the sheriff has asked, with the exception of building a new, multi-million dollar facility.

In my opinion, building a new jail would need to be voted on by the taxpayers, not a five-person board, most of which wouldn’t know now to even start that kind of project.

We have bought patrol cars, guns, and cameras to watch the inmates, given raises and supported almost everything they have needed. It is time to put the brakes on the overspending on the sheriff’s office and do something different.

Wes Middleton’s idea will save the county a lot of money, but it takes some power away from the sheriff, which he doesn’t like. But he isn’t paying the bills, the citizens of Adams County are.

I am not sure how much the taxpayers are willing to stand for. They have a million dollar, unfunded garbage contract to pay for, a new school, and a now add a $15 million detention center and sheriff’s complex?

1. We need to house the inmates in Concordia Parish. The logistics will get worked out.

2. We need to get “the” or “a” district attorney who will bring the inmates to trial in a timely manner, and get them in state custody or put them back on the streets, like we have been doing.

3. We need to come up with a plan if we decide to build a new facility and put it in front of the taxpayers for a vote.

4. We will continue to look for other resources to eventually build a jail, such as federal grants. Even if we fine something tomorrow, it would be five years out before it is built and completed.

We all have a good idea about what the problems are, and it is time to stop kicking all of them down the road and playing the blame game.

Kevin Wilson is a Natchez businessman and Adams County District 2 Supervisor.