Monday, July 8, 2019

Law of the Jungle in Raymond


Incompetence and an inability to control prisoners continue to plague the Hinds County detention centers.  A law of the jungle rules Raymond where riots and murder are all too common.  Guards and prisoners are intimidated.  A report said it best: "the inmates are in charge."  The Justice Department had enough and asked U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on June 24 to hold Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason in civil contempt of court for his failure to comply with a consent decree for the Hinds County Detention System.   

The Justice Department sued Hinds County and the Hinds County Sheriff in 2015 for the the Raymond Detention Center's deplorable conditions, inability to protect inmates from violence, and holding inmates past their release dates.  The settlement agreement requires a court-appointed monitor to periodically inspect the jail and report its findings to the court.  The report paints a picture of a jail that is woefully understaffed while inmates all too often control parts of the jail.  The report is posted below.

The motion to show cause states that the "defendants have missed every major settlement deadline."  The Justice Department claims the Sheriff and Hinds County have done little to improve the safety of the Raymond Detention Center. The jail remains woefully understaffed, inmates control the facility, and riots continue to plague the jail.


The Monitor's June report spells out the incompetence of the Hinds County Sheriff and his inability to get his jail under control.  Some highlights of the report are:

* A staffing shortage continues to cripple the detention center.  The budget funds 271 positions but the jail only has 229 employees in May.  The monitor says the detention center should have 433 employees.  However, the county has repeatedly disputed that requirement as it does not have the funds for such staffing.

* "Because of the staff shortage, none of the housing units at the (RDC) are manned so as to permit the Direct Supervision of inmates. Consequently, the inmates, rather than the officers, are in charge of the facility. This results in assaults, injuries, escapes, destruction of the facility and even riots." (p.2)

* The county maintenance department was not equipped to deal with the jail. Hence, the county hired a professional corrections maintenance firm from San Antonio to fix the worst problems. The monitor said the county should continue to use the company as the maintenance issues have decreased.

* Almost all of fire prevention/suppression systems are missing at RDC. Pod C has no sprinkler system. Prisoners destroyed it during the riot seven years ago but the county never re-installed the system. Fire Safety Officer was transferred to another department and never replaced. 

* Then there is the matter of the District Attorney. "A chronic problem contributing to the jail population and the lack of sufficient staffing is the continued incarceration of unindicted individuals and the extraordinary length of time to disposition of cases. This was described in the last monitoring report and that status has not changed.

* Nurses reported being grabbed or harassed by inmates on numerous occasions while making medication passes on units.  The "security staff did nothing to protect them."  Medical staff memos about these assaults have been ignored.

* After two years, the Sheriff still has not produced a policies and procedures manual.

The Raymond detention center is operating at less than 50% capacity.  RDC only has 276 inmates despite having the capacity for 594 prisoners.    The jail had several riots last week.  One wonders what would happen if the jail was at full capacity.  "Detention Officers work only in the control rooms and the circular corridor that separates the control rooms from the housing units. Because cell doors in the housing units can be easily overridden by the inmates, and most of the doors controlling access to the housing units cannot be secured, the inmate population is in a position to gain control of the three pods should they so desire."

*  The county is planning to shut down one-third of RDC so it can be renovated. 

* Page 16 spells out how bad it really is in Raymond:

By means of example, between May 8 and May 21, 2019, there were six breaches of security at the RDC. In each case, holes were pounded through cell walls, hinges were cut or welds broken and in one instance a lock was found to be missing from the housing unit fire exit door. The lack of adequate staffing has resulted in the prisoners having significant control of the facility as demonstrated in Incident #1901005. In this incident two inmates were found outside the facility attempting to recover three bags of contraband. Officers began to conduct a security check throughout the jail, but the inmates in HU A2 refused to let them enter the unit. This lack of control is exacerbated by the maintenance issues described in paragraph 46 below where inmates can open cell doors, housing unit doors and even control room doors. Inmates break out of the facility, almost at will, but not to escape; rather, to retrieve contraband and return to their housing units. Officers are prevented from performing their duties by inmates who refuse them entry to a housing unit, forcibly restrain them in a housing unit or gain unauthorized access to a pod control room.

*  More incompetence:

As was previously reported, an inmate at the RDC was murdered in HU B3 on December 6, 2018. The victim was arrested for a murder, then was placed in HU B3, where he was killed in retaliation for that murder. To date there has been no Administrative Review or Mortality Review conducted. In fact, it has been difficult to determine the status of the CID investigation of the incident since the investigator was subsequently reassigned to Patrol duties and her replacement was not given responsibility for handling the investigation. (p.28)
* Each pod only has one set of keys.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out why this is a big, huge safety hazard.

The defendants must file a response by August 5.

Kingfish note: Judge Reeves tends to take matters such as this one very seriously.  He has already warned Hinds County in another case about suspects sitting in jail too long without being indicted.  The educated guess here is he isn't going to play around with Hinds County.  Don't be surprised if he eventually removes control of the detention centers (and corresponding budgets) from Hinds County.

One can go back two years to the earlier post about the May 2017 report  and see there is little difference between the two posts. 








27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shittiest sheriff ever

Cynical Sam said...

But he is quite talented at sexually harassing his female subordinates, with hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid out that could be used at the RDC.

His qualifications to be the sheriff? He's black.

Anonymous said...

Who constructed that place? It obviously was not built to code specifications.

Anonymous said...

Next, Lee Vance (graham the legend's buddy) will get elected and 'the hits will keep on coming'. Just keep pouring money down a bottomless pit. And the great Bennie had a major hand in creating this mess.

Anonymous said...

And just one example that the feds are about to start making examples of horseshit like this going on all over the state. Mississippi is being mismanaged top to bottom. Civil rights are being violated daily, and federal funds are being chiseled away into select pockets without going to fund what they're supposed to.

Anonymous said...

Must be why it smells like ass in here...

Anonymous said...

Another sterling example of the total dysfunction that results when Democrats are placed in charge.

Anonymous said...

If "trends" continue I would imagine that the High Sheriff of Hinds County will be re-elected in a landslide, he will continue to goose female deputies and the taxpayers will continue to pick up the settlement agreements payed out to said goosed law dogs.....

Anonymous said...

7:46, there was a movement and a study that called for the construction of a regional multi-county jail with several counties joining together.Hind shot that down moving as fast as possible to build their own facility to get as much kick back a possible. Every rule was broken and the jail was a mess before it was even built.BTW the study showed much cost saving and professional management which met all Federal requirements.

Anonymous said...

@7:46

You nailed it. I don't remember the GC but there have been problems there since day one. The roof leaked and the automated locks on the cells wouldn't operate correctly. I seem to remember that there were some lawsuits over the shoddy design and workmanship. Many got wealthy off this boondoggle. The sad part is RDC is really not that old. It opened in the early/mid nineties.

Kingfish said...

The jail has half the inmates it used to have yet the problems are no better.

Anonymous said...

Mason $hould hire a "con$ultant" to $tudy thi$ $ituation, and then $ell some bond$ to build a new facility.

Some of the bond money could be used to pay off his future victims.

Anonymous said...

Dunn Construction Company built it, but a lot of the problems are due to faulty design by some out of state minority engineering firm that disbanded before the jail ever got built. Things such as inadequate motors for the jail door locks that were in the specs they put out. Thanks to then Hinds County Supe Bennie Thompson for getting them involved. Dunn's holding company later settled for about $1M paid to the county for their share of the problems.

Anonymous said...

People is the USA should not have to live in a third world area like Jackson/Hinds. This is all very sad and will only get worse.

Jacksun said...

Need to vote Mason out.

Anonymous said...

So what's the remedy here (other than waiting until the election)? I know there are plenty of lawyers who read this blog...is there a recall or state takeover mechanism available if the Sheriff is legally disabled from performing his duties?

This problem is only going to get worse, and waiting for the election will only cause more problems.

Kingfish said...

A circuit judge can relieve a Sheriff if he or she determines the Sheriff is unfit for duty.

Other than that, the Supervisors can play with the budget but that is about all they can do.

The Judge can hold the county and Sheriff in contempt and then the fun begins. I think the Orleans Parish Jail is under a federal monitor's control.

Anonymous said...

Vote Spooner, Vance, Cloy or Green it will not matter. The system is so broken that no one person can even come close to fixing this mess.

Anonymous said...

Remedy, Courts Supervisors, voters; too little too late. The only thing to do is run and run fast as far as you can. Leave everything behind for all that can be replaced but your life can not. It is totally over for Jackson and Hinds county and all is lost. RUN!

Anonymous said...

It’s amazing that these riots only occur during election time. I wonder how much that jailer got paid to open that door to let those inmates in by one of candidates that’s running for sheriff......

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about this. It's blog bait. And that's it. The venue is perceived as being 'way the hell off down there' and the escapees are eventually caught and locked back up and if they fight, they fight. Nobody cares. Until several young girls at Hinds CC are attacked, maimed, molested or worse, this whole thing is meaningless.

And what's worse than 'the public' not caring is the fact that law enforcement doesn't care either.

Anonymous said...

The reassignment of the murder investigator, and failure to assign another investigator, makes me wonder how much influence gangs )such as the Vice Lords and Gangster Disciples) really have in local government administration.

Anonymous said...

We need a Purge Night!

Kingfish said...

Here is an example of how poorly constructed it is.

The main area in Pod C has a concrete floor (or similar material). There is no drain even though there are fire hoses. Guess what happens? The inmates get the firehose during a riot, have fun with it, and flood the place with several inches of water since it can't drain.

The ceilings were not metal but the same tiles made out of cardboard or whatever it is in your office. That is just two examples.

Anonymous said...

A JFP article from 2014 that explains a LOT of things going on today:

http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2014/oct/08/stalemate-jail/

Cynical Sam said...

@8:44 PM - I would rather be sent to a Turkish prison.

Anonymous said...

Malcom McMillin wouldn't have put up with this shit!!!!!!!

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