Plan to use state prisoners to clean Hancock roads on temporary hold
By Ellis C. Cuevas
Feb 26, 2013, 19:29
State prisoners currently being housed at the Hancock County Jail won't be performing road clean-up duties any time soon, Sheriff Ricky Adam said Monday.
"State inmate trusties cannot not be housed together with other jail inmates," Adam said. "Currently, we have some 80 state inmates in the Alcohol and Drug Program being housed at the Hancock County Jail and they are being held in two sections of the facility.
"We are now in the process of trying to come up with an area which we think can be turned into a holding area in the jail's facilities with some modifications. There is a large storage room which has a janitorial area with water, etc., which we believe could be converted into a bathroom with a shower. This area is large enough to probably hold up to some 20 state trusty inmates that could be involved in litter control."
The Hancock County Public Safety Complex – which includes the jail – is located on Hwy. 90 near an interstate exit, which would make it "ideal" for a road cleanup crew, Adam said.
"As a matter of a fact, I have a meeting set this week with Christopher Epps, Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner, to further discuss the use of state trusty inmates."
Adam said he also planning to meet this week with the Hancock County Jail consultant Erb Benjamin to discuss the possibility of changing out a storage area.
"Before we can place state inmates in an area of our jail, we also have to have it approved by Attorney Ron Welch, who has to approve the facilities Mississippi's inmates are being housed in as a representative of the federal government," Adam said.
"We really know how important beautification is for our county. It has a direct effect on both our tourism and economic development, which is very important for our county's future.
"We are doing our best to address the facilities needed to house the state trusty inmates – and we can sure can use them to help with out litter control on our highways and roadways."
It has been a little over a year since the Hancock County Public Safety Complex and 300 bed jail facility opened.
A total of 170 employees work at the complex, including the sheriff's office staff, deputies, jail workers and Diamondhead's officers
The Alcohol and Drug Program for the 80 state inmates was recently organized with Rodger McRee as director with two assistants. The sheriff's office receives $20 a day for housing state inmates, which averages to about $50,000 a month, Adam said. The annual budget of the Hancock County Sheriff's Office is $3 million per year.
"The more state inmates we can house, the more it helps the county (to pay for) the operation of this facility," Adam said.