Wednesday, November 24, 2021

And Into the Fire: Judge Wants to Take Over Jail

 It is time to put up or shut up in Raymond. US District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a show cause order against the Hinds County Sheriff yesterday. Judge Reeves gave Hinds County 21 days to explain why he should not place the jail into receivership. The Court decreed:

Within 21 days, Hinds County shall show cause and explain why it should not be held in civil contempt and why a receivership should not be created to operate RDC. A hearing willbe scheduled shortly thereafter.

Judge Reeves said the jail has steadily deteriorated under past and current leadership:

 It is now 2021. Much has changed in the world, the United States,  the  State  of  Mississippi,  and  even  in  Hinds  County. Not  so  for  RDC.  The  unconstitutional  conditions  have  not been remediated—they have no end in sight, in fact. And the County’s   failure   to   remedy   the  conditions   has   caused “needless suffering and death..., including six deaths so far this year.

 The order states several conditions contributed to the current horrible state of affairs:

* Six inmates died this year. Judge Reeves said the problem was getting worse with "no end in sight." (P. 18)

* RDC is severely understaffed. The Sheriff only has 229 employees for "a jail system that requires 318 employees." The monitor has cited the understaffing problem for years. Little improvement has been made in staffing the jail as these are roughly the same amount of employees JJ reported several years ago.  The Court ruled nearly 2 years ago the jail had less than half the employees it needed. The monitor stated:

the C-Pod housing units are routinely left unattended.  Consequently,  the  number  of  assaults and fires, as well as the amount of contraband found during shakedowns, is as high in C-Pod as it is in A-Pod where staffing is so low that, on occasion, the only officer present is stationed in the control room.
The inmates destroy repairs almost as fast as they are made.

* Fire, fire, fire. You read that correctly. The jail has no fire alarm system and no sprinkler system in the housing areas. This correspondent personally observed one design flaw at the jail were fire safety is concerned. The common areas of each pod have a firehose attached to the wall as they should. However, the floors lack drains. Thus the inmates flood the area with several inches of water if they manage to control the firehose. You can't make this up.

The Court reports fires bedevil the Raymond Detention Center. Inmates are constantly setting fires including an episode where three were set in one hour because no officers were present. (P. 19) Judge Reeves said the county took no "meaningful action" to fix the problem.


 

* The locks don't work. JJ first reported the locks did not work nearly 10 years ago. Despite repairs and replacements, the locks still don't work. The monitor reported on October 27 the cell doors do not lock. The manual locks are placed on the outside of the cell so an officer has to prop open the door when entering the cell to avoid the risk of being locked in the cell. Many doors do not lock at all.

* Some inmates are apparently training to get the Jackson garbage contract. Judge Reeves said some cells are now "trash receptacles."  The county welded damage cells shut instead of fixing them. The inmates threw trash into these cells for broken windows. The number of dumpster cells actually increased to 30 after the county was made aware of the problem. Only some cells have been fixed while the majority remain welded shut and collect more garbage.

* Drugs continue to increase in Raymond. The monitor reported nearly half the inmates in one housing area had cell phones, shanks, cash, and drugs.

* Inmates continue to run the jail:

The risks persisted in the most recent monitoring period. The  Lieutenant  in  charge  of  booking  and  classification  re- ported that some detainees “have developed their own com- mittee system in which they choose who is accepted into their unit.”  A-Pod in particular was described as “unmanageable.”
* Dereliction of duty:

In one troubling incident, the control room officers of A-Pod and C-Pod both left their assigned posts. The control rooms were unattended. Detainees could have “easily take[n] over the control rooms and release[d] the entire inmate population at the RDC.” There is no telling if or when detainees might again take control of a pod, or in fact release everyone held at RDC.
The Romans executed soldiers who left their post.

* The innocent remain locked up. Inmates who are acquitted or have their charges dismissed are not set free.

The order caught the Sheriff switching from torpedoes to bombs. It is surely no coincidence Judge Reeves issued the order on election day. It will be several days before the election is certified. Will the interim Sheriff run the clock or give effective control of his office to the Sheriff – elect so he can properly respond to the court order? The Sheriff's attorney resigned on November 1. Attorney Rayford Chambers entered an appearance for Sheriff Crisler.

Judge Reeves's finger is on the trigger and he wants to pull it.

Stay tuned.


32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Either way, county control or receivership, there is about to be a massive Hinds County tax increase to pay for this gross incompetence.

Anonymous said...

You don't build a new jail overnight.

Going to take a big bump in pay to attract employees to that jail.

Might be more cost effective even with transportation costs taken into account to house these prisoners elsewhere.

Of course that would be in the opposition to all of Lumumba's hollow rhetoric but since voters decided to excise his rump attachment who the hell give a damn about what that empty suit thinks.

Anonymous said...

Easy fix if logic and simple common sense is applied.

Anonymous said...

What does recievership mean for the Raymond Detention Center? Does the State gain control over it? A private entity?

Anonymous said...

This is a horrible situation, I do not agree with treating inmates like kings, but at least give them adequate living conditions where they constantly do not have to fear being assaulted or raped. I recognize that there are some bad folks in jail and I say to hell with them, let them get what's coming to them.......but on the same token, there are some decent folks in jail who just made some bad decisions. We are all one bad decision away from prison.

This is entirely the fault of leadership. Every fight, every fire, every bit of vandalism is because of their piss poor ability to manage both business and the people associated with it (in this case its prisoners).

If you are reading this blog and you are in a leadership role or ancillary management of the hinds county jail I say one thing to you.....

DO BETTER DUMBA**ES

Anonymous said...

A wise decision on Judge Reeves part. This jail was built by Congressman Thompson associates I believe and Never passed the punch list from the beginning on things that didn’t meet standards and contract. Taxpayers and workers have been paying for it ever since with money and their lives in danger. Thank you Judge Reeves! Enough is Enough

Anonymous said...

Hey correspondent, with new architectural skills, if the locks don't work why does a jailer have to prop the doors open to keep from being "locked in" the cell? Seems like an oxymoronic concept to me, but what do I know.

And, its not a design flaw for them to have fire hoses but no drains - the design is not intended to consider that the inmates could routinely access the fire hoses when there is no fire. If there is a real fire where the hoses are required, then who gives a damn if it floods the area.

The designers didn't design around incompetent management - their work was predicated on the concept that there would be deputies present, that the prisoners would be locked in their cells, and not have access to the fire hoses at any willy nilly time.

But of course, they weren't correspondents, so what did those engineers know?

Anonymous said...

We're looking at you, Crisler, as acting sheriff to address this travesty. Get it fixed before Sheriff Jones takes over. Thank you, Hinds County voters!

Anonymous said...

9:33 : Imagine the damage that can be done in such a short time frame though. He (crisler) would do better by simply driving around in a semi truck removing the multiple thousands of dollars in signs they put out in such a short time frame. One has to and should ask OUT LOUD where all that money came from. I am asking !! Where did Crisler get the money for SO MUCH advertisement ? That includes TV commercials and friggin BILLBOARDS. It is as if it was money set aside for legal things but used for his campaign instead. Show us the records.

Anonymous said...

9:05, the inmates are largely the problem with how the inmates are being treated. Read the entire situation, not just cherrypick the problems. The inmates are in charge (thanks to the failure of the sheriff(s)/county to stop this) and are what is responsible for their 'living conditions'.

And many of these inmates choose to be there; the monitor has reported previously that some inmates routinely break out of jail, only to break back in after collecting some contraband that they bring back in for themselves and with which to deal. Not quite the same thing as Otis in Mayberry but similar result.

Anonymous said...

Judge Reeves should do the same thing for the City of Jackson.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:49

9:05 here,

You make excellent points. It's just unfornatute to me that situations like this are generally used as political ammunition rather than folks working together to get off their collective butts and actually try and address these problems.

Theca Jones of the Roguish Gent Podcast said...

10:59

I will take it over. I will rename it the Frank Melton Kibbutz to appease you guys.

Anonymous said...

So why wasn’t the 5 deaths under Vance publicized like the one death under Crisler? This is 30 years worth of work for Crisler to do in 6 days.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like a decision was made at some point to cede control of the jail to gang leaders. I suspect some deals were negotiated between local government officials and the semi-organized criminal element.

No other explanation makes sense to me. At some point, allowing the inmates to run the prison like they did/do the street became intentional.

I still have yet to see the local officials of Hinds County and City of Jackson make public statements to even acknowledge the existence of gangs, much less identify them as the major problem that they are. It's always something like "gangs that may or may not exist."

Anonymous said...

A two-tier approach might work:

1) All inmates currently serving time for convictions are moved to other jails across the state and Hinds County pays the bill, or contract with a private provider for jail space. NO INTERFERENCE FROM HINDS COUNTY. THEY JUST GET THE BILL AND IT MUST BE PAID WITHIN 30 DAYS WITH A LETTER OF CREDIT IN PLACE.

2) Only recently arrested suspects, or those with scheduled trial dates in Hinds County (outside of Jackson) go to Raymond.

This would allow the jail and staff to be improved and comply with any court orders in the long term with a very small population to become permanaent.



For right now, Judge Reeves needs to take the jail over and remove it from any control within Hinds County.

The politics are too intertwined to make any improvements, plus those attempting to manage the jail are too stupid and crooked to do it correctly.

The new sherriff does not need this burden on him so he can focus on setting up the department to function as it should. If he can perform the task.

Anonymous said...

You're not even funny Melvin. Stick to what you are good at, kissing Antard's hiney.

Anonymous said...


November 24, 2021 at 9:29 AM; the correspondent's architectural skills are better than your reading comprehension skills. try reading the article again, maybe a little more slowly so the big words don't confuse you. the reason some doors have to be propped open is because, are you ready, per the article; "Many doors do not lock at all." this statement implies that some doors do lock, hence being propped open. even with my public school education, and rankin county address, i was able to figure this out. doesn't seem like an oxymoronic concept to me, but what do I know?

i will admit that i do not know what the building codes are for prisons, but it seems to me to be a good idea to have a drain so the area doesn't flood, and cost the tax payers even more money repairing the damage caused by standing water. mild, mildew, rot and rust can get expensive.

with that being said, i do not envy the position the new sheriff finds himself in. without money, there's not much he can do. and the current interim sheriff isn't gonna do shit.

Anonymous said...

I’m a old school White NE Jackson country club spoiled children private schooled unapologetic white male
I can tell you spoiled mayor Ludumba will have a hard time accepting Sheriff Jones
He truly is law and order. No race matters only the law!!! As for David dumba$$ Archie is concerned he will be in a cell soon.

Krusatyr said...

Consider:

1. Most inmates in HCDC earned their way in. A whole compliment of competent guards and rigid military discipline won't work without a well designed, dependable mechanical system of enclosure, with redundancy backups.

2. It is stupid not to have floor drains: those nasty cells need to be effectively hosed out occasionally, in addition to draining away thrown feces in the halls and fire hose water.

3. Examine cost to build a whole new facility vs ongoing mickey mouse failing repairs. The State should participate with the County in very professional design, bidding, engineering and construction supervision and pay approval to Contractor.

Krusatyr said...

2:04pm
Yes indeed, a continuous floor drain or a multitude of connected central drains are essential to regularly spray-clean those nasty cells and take away fire hose water. This is difficult/expensive to retrofit without new slab floors that are sloped to the drains.

Some architects are sloppy and impractical with expensive consequences. A whole new building may be necessary.

Anonymous said...


November 24, 2021 at 2:04 PM here. it's mold, not mild. damn you, tim apple and your autocorrect!!!

Anonymous said...

"You don't build a new jail overnight."

Probably not, genius. But, how about over the past 21 years? That's how long the County Board of Supervisors (not any sheriff) has known this place is a failed, poorly constructed shit hole.

Now they can go begging to the feds for funding.

Anonymous said...

Federal Judge getting the Raymond Detention Center out of the HCBOS hands will be the best scenario. Its a living dump....

Anonymous said...

Screw a new jail. House them just like our troops-in tents (surrounded be high voltage electric fences). And feed them MREs.

Anonymous said...

Ludumba and associates… that’s the law firm he couldn’t never make it under… you know like the rest of us in the real world so he ran for a government position!!! He claims this judge to be racist!

Anonymous said...

Let the Federal government take it over and spend the millions required to improve conditions. It doesn’t matter who the Sheriff is the problems are not fixable short of Hinds County pouring millions of dollars into repairs, while increasing salaries to a level that would allow the Sheriff to hire adequate staff, who are properly trained, millions Hinds County doesn’t have.
The detention center was poorly built but was designed as a minimum/medium security facility with the idea to house those types of inmates for a short period while awaiting trial. Because Hinds Counties court system has been dis-functional for decades the inmates are violent offenders who should be housed at Parchman. Instead their cases languish for years. It is common for inmates to be held at Raymond for 7-8 YEARS! The facility wasn’t designed for that as a result many officers quit shortly after being hired because the conditions are so dangerous.
Again if the new Sheriff has any sense he will gladly let the Federal Court take over because the problems cannot be fixed no matter who the Sheriff is.

Anonymous said...

I know it's a dumb question, but, let me back up and ask it anyway. Does this facility house only those arrested and detained as criminal suspects for acts committed within Hinds County?

Assuming that to be the case, it makes NO sense to claim the county can't afford the expense of correcting, by whatever means necessary, the problem. It's an obligation of the taxpayers of Hinds County...and they don't have the option of saying 'this is the best we can do with the funds we can generate'.

What's that old saying....? Where there's a will...Problem here is there has been no will. The Judge is about to impose one.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, it would seem that a 'Red Line Brig' would be a better situation than what is happening at that jail now. And if well run a few weeks in such a brig would likely result in a new outlook on life for prisoners. Of course the corruptions such as the kick back phone system must be eliminated and psychologically fit guards found and trained and paid well. But Mississippi is the most corrupt state in the country and corrections/courts may be the most corrupt agencies in the state.

Anonymous said...

Lane McMurray and Kane Ditto lost alot of money in Sheriff race believing what Credell Calhoun told them. Calhoun as President of HCSD has now lost the jail. Hinds County will have new Supervisors in 2024. Verne will be replaced by Leon Seals. Credell will be replaced by Z. Summers. Bobcat will be replaced by Judge Clyde Chapman. Malcom Johnson will take David Archie spot. Cristler will replace Graham

Anonymous said...

"What does receivership mean for the Raymond Detention Center? Does the State gain control over it? A private entity? 9:02 AM"

I guess the judge could appoint a receiver, but this is the action of a federal judge, not a 'state judge'.

Anonymous said...

2:23 - you may be correct in your predictions; however, the octogenarian at Dept of Corrections will be headed back to Baton Rouge by then and Leftenant Graham, with a law enforcement background, is on deck for that slot and will be appointed by Governor Hoseman.


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