Business offers donation of 30-plus acres on U.S. 61 north for new jail facility

Published 3:19 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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NATCHEZ — An as-yet anonymous business has donated more than 30 acres on U.S. 61 north of Natchez to house a new county jail and criminal justice facility.

Debbie Germany is leading an exploratory committee sanctioned by the county supervisors, which is exploring options for a new county jail and criminal justice complex.

“This land donation has kick-started things,” Germany said.

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The Adams County Jail long has been in disrepair and in 2023 reached the point that inmates and staffers were no longer safe being housed there.

Adams County entered into a contract with the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office to house inmates at its facility in Ferriday, Louisiana.

“We’ve gotten a lot done in the last two months,” Germany reported to the Board of Supervisors at its meeting Monday morning.

She said the group, which is calling itself the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, first met with principal members of its board on Jan. 4.

“This committee is recommended by the Department of Justice, and in fact, the DOJ recommends you have this type of committee in place forever, not just when you have a need like we do,” she said.

Germany asked supervisors to authorize county attorney Scott Slover to work with the business owner to secure the donation of the property, which supervisors approved.

In addition, Germany asked that supervisors prepare and approve a letter of intent with David Marsh of Benchmark Construction.

Several times over the years, the county has called on Marsh and his company to help with planning a new jail facility.

“David Marsh basically has a plan and has a feasibility study done already,” Germany said.

Marsh and his company have constructed more jail facilities in Mississippi than any other company, she said.

Supervisors approved a motion for the letter of intent to work with Marsh and his company.

After the meeting, Germany said the time to begin work on a jail is now.

“If you want a jail before three years from now, you need to get to work on it now,” she said. “Especially because the DOJ (Department of Justice) could come in and say you’ve got to do it now and you’ve got to do it our way, not your way.”

Germany also urged supervisors to meet with Bert Carson of Sustainability Partners.

“His company would come in, build the jail and maintain it, then lease it back to the county,” she said.