HINDS COUNTY, Mississippi (WJTV) — As Hinds County awaits the federal court’s final decision on the jail consent decree, Sheriff Tyree Jones said he will not stop working to ensure that Hinds County Detention Center is in compliance.
It could be days, weeks or months before District Judge Carlton Reeves makes a decision about jail time.
There are two options for the prison. One: Place it in escrow with the Department of Justice (DOJ). Two: If the DOJ and county prosecutors reach a new agreement, Judge Reeves would likely consider it.
The consent decree was crafted in 2016 to address what the DOJ said were unconstitutional living conditions at the jail, the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center and the Work Center.
After three years and one non-compliance, a stipulated order was entered into in 2020. The order is a compact version of the consent decree with more specific mandates for county compliance. Recently, Judge Reeves held Hinds County in contempt for violating the consent decree.
Sheriff Jones said no matter what the judge decides, he will follow orders.
“Let me be perfectly clear, whatever the judge decides in this particular case, my aim and my objective is, above all, to respect whatever the decision. I believe that our detention centers belong to this county they also belong to the ratepayers of Hinds County I want an opportunity under my administration to be able to move seamlessly from areas that need to be addressed to areas that need to be addressed to get us out of the current situation we find ourselves in said Jones.
If Judge Reeves chooses to put the prison into receivership, the federal government would have full control of the prison and the budget. Sheriff Jones and the County would no longer have anything to do with the facility.
Sheriff Jones said he thinks the jail is his responsibility and would like the chance to come into compliance, but it may be too late.
As for the construction of a new jail in Hinds County, that is not part of the consent decree and would not apply to the receivership.