NATCHEZ — Adams County supervisors met in executive session Monday to hear an independent report on the state of the Adams County Jail.
Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten requested an independent jail analysis from Kathryn Bryan of Detention Operations LLC, “someone without a dog in the fight.”
Board attorney Scott Slover called for the report to be heard and discussed in executive session because it could reveal potential security and liability issues involving the prison.
District 2 Supervisor Kevin Wilson would not discuss the information Bryan revealed in his report during the executive session, but said, “It was depressing. It was not a good report. But that was really nothing new. This prison is as it has been for the past 10 years.
Other prior jail reports, as well as those by Patten and his deputies, have repeatedly indicated that the jail is unsafe for prison staff or inmates and could be a liability to the county and a risk to Security.
The prison has major problems with mold and plumbing to the point that a clogged toilet can cause water to leak from the third floor of the prison all the way down to the basement. The multi-level prison has a number of blind spots that security cameras cannot cover and the technology is so outdated that a fire breaks out in the prison, staff would have to go to every cell in the prison and unlock it with a key, Patten said. .
“We’re going to have to do something,” Wilson said. “The biggest problem we have here is that everyone thinks he’s in an election year all the time. It’s the truth. Everyone is worried about their next election, not what they should do.
“We will have to take care of this prison. Fixing it isn’t an option because it’s so poorly designed and it’s falling apart. It was built on a small footprint and there was nowhere to go but up. We will have to find a way to put the prisoners elsewhere and build a new prison. Taxpayers deserve better and people in prison deserve better. »
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Wes Middleton, who represents District 1, said the supervisors agreed to digest the information presented to them during the executive session and discuss it at the next meeting of the supervisors, scheduled for Monday, April 18 at 9 a.m. at the Council. from the supervisors’ offices at 314 State St.
“Before the pandemic, a new prison was estimated at $14 million. I can only imagine the same prison would cost $18 million or more right now,” Middleton said. “I can’t vote to raise taxes to build a prison. People are already suffering. For a year, I have been trying to think outside the box to find a solution. As a council, we try to do our research and do whatever it takes with taxpayers’ money to try to eliminate any liability. But something will have to be done. »
Supervisor Angela Hutchins, who represents District 3, agrees.
“We’re going to have to do something. I spoke with the woman and asked her if she could give a town hall and explain these issues with the prison to people,” Hutchins said. “We’re going to have to build a new prison before anything happens. There are so many regulations imposed on us that we don’t have in place. I don’t want to raise taxes, but I want to consider subsidies. There may be grant funds available for a prison. And we have some ARP money that we might be able to use.
District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray and District 5 Supervisor Warren Gaines did not immediately return calls for comment.