Warren County asks permission to move jail outside Vicksburg
Feb. 18, 2017
VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Warren County supervisors say they may ask state lawmakers to let them place its jail outside the city limits of Vicksburg. Lawmakers have waived the requirement that a joint city-county jail be within a mile of the city's limits for other counties.
Supervisors tell The Vicksburg Post (http://bit.ly/2lsP2Wu) they may ask for a bill waiving the requirement that a jail be located within the city limits. Such a bill would have to be introduced in the Legislature by March 24.
Board of Supervisors President Richard George told The Vicksburg Post (http://bit.ly/2lsP2Wu) that he wants to ensure the jail is the best location for future growth, and also wants a flat site in the hilly county.
"If we're going to buy a piece of property and spend somewhere between $8 to $12 million for a jail, we need to have the opportunity, at least if we're going to pay for it, to put it where we think it needs to be for the future of Warren County and Vicksburg," George said.
State lawmakers say they will support a bill if Sheriff Martin Pace, Vicksburg and county officials agree.
"As long as they're all on board, I will support them; I won't do anything to stop it," said state Rep. Oscar Denton, D-Vicksburg.
Grand jurors have repeatedly recommended replacing the 1907 structure and its 1977 addition for more than a decade. Talk resurfaced after a murder suspect escaped the current jail last year, holding a family at knifepoint. Pace said the jail is inadequate and unsafe, without the ability to separate misdemeanor and felony prisoners.
During a Jan. 31 meeting of city and county officials, George said the supervisors were evaluating sites, adding they were looking for about 12 to 18 acres of land for the new jail to house city and county prisoners and to allow for expansion in the future.
He said he hoped to see work begin of the jail in 2019, the last year of the present board's term.
Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. offered to help supervisors pay a new jail. The city since 2013 has spent $1.13 million to house city misdemeanor prisoners in out-of-town jails in Issaquena, Copiah, Madison and Jefferson counties.
Information from: The Vicksburg Post, http://www.vicksburgpost.com